NOVEMBER 2012 Vol. XXII, No. 4
Pa r k C ities P r esby ter i an C hur ch “But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine.’” —Isaiah 43:1
Reinvesting the love received in Asia
The language learned is not just words
Finding Hong Kong on more than a map
Worship and training under the big tree
Identifying our primary identity as women
Arts Academy develops bestowed creativity
Power used for the common good
Middle schoolers take to the woods
New preschool leader knows ministry well
Marissa survives a near-miss on life
Jesus’ adoption of us is a pattern to follow
Interns find joy at DPRC during summer
Bringing the vision of ESL into focus
Counseling ministry off to good start
(Presbyterian Church in America)
Beloved PCPC pastor accepts new call Then something Tookish woke up inside him
Patrick and Christie with children Savannah (front), and (l to r) Jedidiah and Seamus.
n J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, an intriguing development occurs at the start of this classic tale. Gandalf invites Bilbo Baggins (the hobbit) to journey on an adventure with him. Bilbo’s first response is a decisive, “no,” for it was the Baggins’ side of Bilbo’s persona that grounded him in comfort and domestication. Yet it is at this moment that Tolkien gives an inspiring insight into another aspect of Bilbo’s persona—his Tookish side. “As they [the dwarves] sang, the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and jealous love, the desire of the hearts of the dwarves. Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick.” In these words we feel the resonating aches of our own hearts to journey on an adventure that leads us to see the great mountains, hear the pine trees and the
waterfalls, explore caves, and to wear a sword. It is to this adventurous, risk-taking life for the Gospel that God has called us. It is a God-centered, Christ-exalting, Gospel-proclaiming adventure. If the Resurrection is true (And it is!) does it not beckon us to step out in faith and follow God’s leading? It is this divine leading for which Patrick Lafferty has accepted the call, pending presbytery approval, to be the organizing pastor of a PCA church in southwest Dallas called Christ the King (www.ctktexas.com). I sat down with Patrick to ask
him some questions about his new adventure. Who is Christ the King church and what’s your dream for that body? Christ the King is a mission church in southwest Dallas. It’s a forty-member church with a loving and resilient disposition. My dream is to establish a God-honoring, Christ-exalting, community-loving church marked by love for one another. How did you pray, listen, and consult in making this big decision? We spent much time in prayer surrounding each step of this process and continued on last page
Loving because we are loved High school students have an adventure in Asia
hat do 14 high school freshman and sophomores, three moms, three PCPC staff members, a seminary student, and three young professionals all have in common? In July, we all traveled across 13 time zones to take an English curriculum to a country where we could not understand one word or read one character! God so graciously supplied all our needs with the diversity of our team: a doctor, a banker, an air travel guru, a Mandarin-speaking genius who could communicate and order from menus, two teachers, a photographer, a couple of great youth leaders, and a tall team leader whom we could easily spot on the very crowded subways! We taught English and loved on 70 Asian middle school and high school students at a private school in a huge city of
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11 million people. After class each day we went on field trips with them to a museum, a zoo, and a traditional opera complete with fire-breathing dancers in masks.
On the way home we visted PCPC elder Rick Laymon and listened intently to his lessons on abiding from John 15. Here we really got to process all that God had taught us at the school.
In teams of two, we were graciously hosted in the local homes of our students for one night, and we were able to experience their family culture and lifestyle firsthand. Our PCPC high schoolers quickly made relationships with the students, and the cultural barriers fell quickly when they shared their music, their foods, and their teenage lifestyles with each other. We loved them because He first loved us.
We so appreciated the prayers of our church family and supporters and saw how God had prepared the way for us in advance. As we taught English, God taught us about love, unity, patience, prayer, and flexibility. These lessons were tested when one team’s flight was delayed for many hours due to the largest storm the area had seen in 40 years. God’s protection was clear as another flight ended with a smooth landing in the very heart of that storm.
Above, (l to r) Darian Reichert, Tommy Obenchain, Elena Fratteroli, and (front) Thomas Burgher demonstrate their new tai chi moves. Below, The PCPC mission team mingles with students after a tai chi class in their matching uniforms.
The last PCPC team to teach English in East Asia went in 2006, and our team was once again able to plant the seeds of the Gospel in the school. God faithfully reopened the door which also allowed PCPC to host the Asian students in Dallas in August. Please pray with us for this relationship to be strengthened for many years as our students travel to Asia and then host students in our homes in Dallas. May God do mighty things in these two cities! —Ready Bateman and Darian Reichert
NOVEMBER NOVEMBER 2012 2012 •• PCPC PCPC WITNESS WITNESS
were able to use scripture to teach about these holidays, explaining the love, provision, and saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Dave and Darian Reichert with sons Austin, Ben, Will, and Carson with their Asian guests
Aside from all the teaching, there were also several activities planned throughout the week. These activities provided the PCPC body and Park Cities community opportunities to relationally minister and love our friends from Asia. From Southern Junction and the Mesquite Rodeo, to the Rangers game and Jump Street, these students were surrounded by the love of God, God’s people and some good ole Texas culture.
Joseph Ward, Alarice, Audrey
The currency of love and grace
his summer 24 staff, volunteers, and students traveled to Asia for two weeks to teach English (see page 2). Then, a few weeks later, 18 of the students we taught headed to Dallas for 10 days. It was our turn to share with them not only the cultural and social identities found here in America, but also to share with them the Gospel of grace and love. The PCPC body answered the call to love on these students by hosting all 18 students and three teachers during their time in Dallas. The students were given the opportunity to learn English, attend a rodeo, master line dancing, and have firsthand experience with the Texas heat and cowboy boots. Trinity Christian Academy was gracious enough to offer their facilities to host a three-hour English camp each day. During this time we taught about several different holidays that we celebrate here in America. The goal of teaching about these holidays was to demonstrate the different cultural traditions and assumptions found in America and to open doors for Gospel conversations. These lessons included Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Valentine’s Day. We PCPC WITNESS • NOVEMBER 2012
During those ten days, two groups of people from two completely different cultures and languages were able to live, laugh, and love on one another. Our hope and prayer is that God used this program to change our hearts and save those of the students and staff from abroad. We did not send them home empty-handed. Many students were given their first Bibles and heard the Gospel for the first time, but every person in this program had no choice but to feel the warm embrace of Gospel-centered, Bible-believing Christians here in North Dallas and PCPC. A special thanks to all the PCPC and North Dallas individuals, families, and organizations that helped to make this program possible. —Carl Sullivan
f I had been asked where Hong Kong was on a map three months ago, I would not have known. Prior to the trip, my connection with the entire country was non-existent. I couldn’t tell you what the people were like or what kind of food they ate. To be honest, I probably did not care. My concept of how big the world was about as big as the southeastern corner of the United States. Our Hong Kong mission trip gave not only me, but our entire team, a bigger perspective of the world and Christ’s Kingdom at large.
first met, but after a few days that changed! They loved hearing about my family and looking at pictures of my home that I had brought with me. Refreshing goofiness Many of the students’ were talking and interacting with Americans for the first time. They treated us as if we were celebrities! We were so different, and they wanted to know us. Many of them found our goofy behavior and loudness refreshing. Their typical authority figure is generally someone who pushes and demands much from them and responds with encouragement only when students succeed. The students feel a great deal of pressure to do well in school, to go to the right college, and have the right job at such a young age. This concept is not so different from certain circles in America. Our team’s effort was to build relationships with them, spend time with them, make them laugh, and learn who they were on a personal level. We showed them love in any way that we could, while teaching that our love for them came from Christ’s love for us.
HONG KONG REVISITED Energized anticipation for the city Our team of 47 members met at DFW on July 12 for Hong Kong dressed in our matching yellow t-shirts. We were a sight to behold! We had a sweet season of prayer with parents and friends who had come to see us off. High-energy is the best description of our emotional state hen we first landed in Hong Kong. After 22 hours of travel, we were full of energy and anticipation of the next two weeks. It was still daylight when we landed, so we were welcomed by the beautiful beach views and city skyline. After months of preparation and prayer, we were in Hong Kong, safe and sound! We were prayerfully expectant of seeing God’s work moving mightily in this city and through us and in us. Our first few days were spent in preparation for teaching and getting familiar with the city. One day we ran the Amazing Race, a city-wide scavenger hunt that helped us get acquainted with Hong Kong. It was also a wonderful way for us to get to know our family groups even better. Our PCPC team was divided into six different family groups that served alongside and taught at six different Hong Kong churches involved with English camp. Every morning we met for breakfast and caffeine and jumped onto the metro to head off into different areas of the city to our churches. We spent our mornings singing, dancing, and playing silly games with our Chinese friends. In the classroom, we taught about verbs, American holidays, and adjectives. My students were very timid and shy when we 4
No zip codes in heaven There is story upon story of how God worked through us. Hard hearts became soft. The freedom of the Gospel was sweet to these Chinese students and they came out of their shells. God worked through our team in many ways that we could see, but also in ways that we will not know this side of heaven. The Hong Kong churches will pursue students who made professions of faith. God doesn’t have a zip code, we do. And now these new believers have churches in their own city prepared to love them and share more with them about the Good News of our Lord and Savior! His work isn’t done even though we are gone. PCPC youth pastor Brent Baker continually emphasized to us that God is as interested in what He’s doing in us as much as what He is doing through us. We met frequently as a team to process together. This was such a sweet time as we got to worship together, share good and bad with one another, and pray with and for one another! We didn’t go on this trip just to teach English or to change the hearts of the Chinese. God sent every person on this trip to teach us and to change our hearts. I have seen another corner of His Kingdom, and I have been blessed by it. I can now point to Hong Kong on a map and tell you what the people are like and about the food there. But I can also tell you about my brothers and sisters in Christ there. I can share with you their love and zeal for the Gospel and their hope that that Gospel will change their city. —Grayson Baird NOVEMBER 2012 • PCPC WITNESS
Degg nga Angale? Degguma Wolof (Do you speak English?)
(I don’t speak Wolof)
From the neighboring village, women cooked lunch for all of us – chebujen (rice, fish, and vegetables) while local day laborers made cinder blocks for the second floor addition to a building. The center was much a-buzz with activity.
Above, the Senegalese team Left, a craft the children made
anguage is just one of the challenges faced when traveling on a short-term mission trip, but God’s Gospel of love and redemption coupled with His desire to bless all nations is the universal language.
This past June team members from PCPC and Redeemer Seminary responded to God’s call to ministry with the Presbyterian Church of Senegal. Partnering with Mamadou Diop and his gathered pastoral families, our team served alongside the growing church in Senegal. Some traveled from as far away as 550 miles to attend our training at the Djilas Center.
Our mission was designed to train pastors and other male leadership, teach their wives, and minister to their children through God’s abundant love for these new Christians living in a 94+% Muslim country where mosques are as ubiquitous as goats. Mamadou utilizes an evangelism and church planting model founded on a Paul/Timothy concept. He identifies a Paul who then resides in a given village for five years. During this time, Paul raises up a Timothy and a few other Christian male leaders. After that five-year period, Paul moves on to
a new village, and Timothy becomes Paul, replicating that model. At the Djlas Center, the Pauls retreat together for worship and training monthly; less frequently the Timothys attend training; and until our trip, their wives and children were not participants. Our Senegalese brothers received teaching from three of our men using materials prepared in French, the language spoken by most of them. Topics included the importance of the Old Testament, how the Exodus illustrates the Gospel, and lessons on leadership from 1 Timothy. Three of our women taught our Senegalese sisters with selected passages from Romans 1–6 and with instruction on the biblical view of marriage and partnership in ministry. Ascertaining a common level of biblical knowledge was a challenge but not a stumbling block to studying the Word together. Meanwhile, our children’s ministry team loved on the children of both the Christian families and those from the neighboring village. We taught Bible stories and played games, sang songs, assisted with crafts, and cared for children while their parents participated in the training. Bubbles, Beanie Babies, and crafts were particular favorites. The children decorated picture frames holding their family portrait taken during the week.
PCPC WITNESS • NOVEMBER 2012
Throughout the week, our five interpreters blessed us tremendously, as few of us speak French and none of us is fluent in Serer or Wolof. Fortunately God’s language of love required no translation.
We worshiped God under the big tree morning and afternoon with singing, reading God’s Word, and sharing a devotional message from one of our team. And oh, how our Senegalese families sing! No written music was needed—their voices were instruments and their dancing rejoicing in the Lord. A plastic bucket and metal tray magically transformed into a joyful drum.
On July 4, we invited our brothers and sisters to celebrate with us our bond in Christ and Julian and Christiana Russells’ wedding anniversary as well. What a blessing for all of us to enjoy a meal together at our hotel. The staff had decorated our dining hall with balloons, prepared a banquet feast, and provided entertainment—drummers and local dancers. The evening culminated with worship outside under the beautiful stars. After spending five days with these brothers and sisters in Christ, our parting was both sad and joyful. We needed no translators to tell us that we had all been changed for His glory and saved by the redeeming blood of our Savior. How will the peoples of the earth be blessed if we don’t share the Gospel? Maaleekumsalaam (Peace go with you.) —Charlotte Medley
t was no typical night at the movies. Although the Angelika Theatre was packed full with women— popcorn and sodas in hand—they were not there for the newest blockbuster release. There was much more in store for them—the PCPC Women’s Fall Premiere. Upon arrival, the women found an ordinary cinema space transformed into a full-blown festival. They were greeted with warm smiles, big balloons, banners, and candy galore! From the customized Fall Premiere take-home cups to the playbills that lined the seats, no detail was left unnoticed. Kari Stainback began the show by welcoming the full house of women and introducing the evening’s opening act. Hilarious videos and prizes were presented, including a parody morning show known as “Crack of Dawn.” After the segment, audience members continued to be entertained by a creative and energetic game where Priscilla Overton, Becky Bain, and Kay Gabrysch were dressed as famous individuals. Thus concluding Act I of the evening. Before Mark Davis began his teaching, a clip depicting several women’s struggles with identity painted the picture of common scenarios women wrestle with today. Mark used these testimonies to introduce his teaching on how women, in both similar and different ways, struggle with the idol of being needed. Moms, daughters, wives, friends, professionals, and singles alike often wrestle with placing their primary identity in fulfilling the needs of others.
Mark offered encouragement by emphasizing the tendency to embrace these secondary identities in the place of our true identity in Christ—a beloved child of God who never needs us but loves us and pursues us nevertheless. Possibly one of the most encouraging notes of the evening was Mark’s assurance for his listeners that if we are in Christ, this primary identity is the same in us all. We all left the event with excitement for the season ahead as women at PCPC and encouraged by God’s patience and love for us in the midst of our pursuit of identity. Ashley Bonnin, a recent graduate of SMU, said of her experience, “It was encouraging to see women in all stages of life finding peace and healing in the Gospel for struggles that we all have.” “As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” —Psalm 40:17 —Caroline White
Above left, Priscilla Overton, Kay Gabrysch, and Becky Bain model as celebrity look-alikes. Above right, Fall Premiere cup Right, Cindy Sloan enjoys the treats at the snack table. Below, Mark Davis speaks on identity.
NOVEMBER 2012 • PCPC WITNESS
Lights, Camera, KICKOFF!
PCPC WITNESS • NOVEMBER 2012
PRAISE. . . TO SERVE
TO . . . TO An Arts Academy Manifesto
t was Beethoven who exclaimed, “Music enables us to fearlessly and joyfully soar up to God, for God alone knows all things, and God alone can inspire!” What a perfect inspiration for our Arts Academy at PCPC—combining the highest artistic standards with a spiritually transformational purpose for Dallas and the world.
In Exodus 15:11, Moses asked, “Who is like You, O Lord... majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” And the Psalmist conveys the essence of God’s reign by saying He is “robed in majesty,” and that “honor, beauty and strength” go before Him. These attributes are inextricably linked to God’s redemptive role in human history, culminating in Jesus Christ. And it is precisely this magnificent reconciling of God to the world which forms the genesis of the theology of worship, music, and the arts permeating every activity of the PCPC Arts Academy. The unswerving goal of the Academy is to serve the church both worldwide and here at Oak Lawn and Wycliff, developing and nurturing a Christian wisdom about music of all kinds. As Jeremy Begbie writes in Resounding Truth, our calling as theological musicians “is to help build up the people of God, to shape the Christian community for the sake of its worship and mission to the world.” This is why you see and hear Academy students and faculty contributing frequently to our worship services and myriad other gatherings. Through notes and words we seek to continually inform and shape the virtually limitless vocabulary of expressing praise, prayer, repentance, joy, and exhortation.
The Author of all excellence
Current instruction in the Arts AcadFor the Christian who is involved emy includes private voice and piano in the arts through our Academy, lessons as well as group music lessons the greatest privilege always is to for ages birth to eight years using the acknowledge the Creator-God who Musikgarten curriculum. The beauthroughout history has graciously betiful facilities and instruments God stowed on human beings the creative has entrusted to us aid our communigenius to write, the creative insight to cating excellence which points to the perform, and the creative receptivity very God who authored excellence! to listen. Ultimately, the Arts Academy We strive for technical ability merged exists to reflect and proclaim God’s with musicality, culminating in servindescribable intervention in history ing worship and concert in the most through Jesus Christ from whom, God-glorifying manner possible. Even through whom, and to whom are all as the authentic musician purposes things, and to whom is due all glory to discover beauty, moving beyond and honor forever. Soli Deo Gloria! mere precision, our incalculable extra – Stephen Nielson dimension is the infusion of every assignment, practice session, and performance with the overview The Park Cities Players of God’s creative impulses and are coming this spring! This redemptive purposes! The greatest master of all, Johann Sebastian Bach, maintained that composing and performing music are deeply spiritual enterprises, the sole purpose of which, as his works were inscribed, is “for the glory of God alone and the restoration of the heart. Where this is not the case there is no real music but only a demonic noise” (James R. Gaines, Evening in the Palace of Reason).
musical theater program will be a fun and creative environment for children in grades two through six. Children will find their own voice and build self esteem while learning the basics of musical theater. The Park Cities Players will help build cognitive development, confidence, or even a future Broadway star! Industry professionals Laurie Hargrave and Carrie Ellen Adamian will be teaching this program.
For more information on any PCPC Arts Academy classes or lessons, contact Frances Cope, frances.cope@ pcpc.org, 214-224-2633.
Libby Feguson takes a voice lesson from Jenni Til Rasberry. 8
Michael Lindsay (President of Gordon College, noted sociologist, and author of Faith in the Halls of Power), spoke at a PCPC WorkPlace Ministry luncheon on September 23. For those who play leading roles at work, Lindsay’s talk warrants heartfelt personal reflection and a spiritual response. Between the lines, it also carries a message for “ordinary” workers.
Faith in the halls of
Drawing from his extended personal study of 250 highly prominent interviewees (including Presidents, 80 cabinet Secretaries, CEOs, and many top-ranking military officials) Lindsay presented ten thought-provoking “postures in response to power.” He pointed out pitfalls such as the tendency to flaunt one’s power, the trap of being so consumed by its pursuit that we are “owned by power,” and the recurring tragedies of power squandered and power coveted. His main point, though, was that Christians who are blessed with power are called to be a blessing to others. In this vein he spoke of donating power and of being willing to venture boldly with power in order to use it for the common good. (You can listen to Lindsay’s talk at http://workplace. pcpc.org.)
postures in response to power
The snare of power
Those of us who are “middle managers” or “individual contributors” (as Lindsay named us) at work might be tempted to yearn for the blessing of power, thinking that with it, we would
a blessing to its holder—or to anyone else. Power is apt to corrupt. Even in the hands of well-meaning Christians, workplace power is often misunderstood and considered oppressive. Lindsay noted, poignantly, that Jesus’ parable of the talents carries a powerful insight into the phenomenon of power at work. This story of entrustment of different sums to the three servants is not so much about what people do when they receive money (or influence, or power) or even how much power they receive. Rather, the gist of the parable is that God’s people are called to “let power pass through our hands without grasping it.”
What are some implications of these insights “Often the Lord blesses His people by withholding from for middle managers and individual contributhem the trappings of earthly power, knowing that it tors? Mainstream workis when believers apprehend their powerlessness that ers are well situated to let power pass through they are most apt to glorify our all-powerful Savior.” their hands without grasping it. As men and be in a better position to be a blessing women under authority, we are enfor others. But Lindsay was clear on trusted every day with responsibility this—Even when we think we are beto assure that the directions of those ing motivated by a desire to share a over us are followed (provided those blessing, the pursuit of power can be directions don’t violate the laws of a snare. And power often fails to bring God—our preeminent authority). It’s PCPC WITNESS • NOVEMBER 2012
clear that the power is derivative; it comes from the upper levels. Nor is this simply a matter of taking orders from our earthly leaders. Our Lord instructs us to boldly resist if our leaders would cause people to act unethically; and to fearlessly stand up for the powerless in our midst when power is clearly being abused. What’s more, we are in a position to extend unconditional loving kindness to many people who might never cross paths with those who serve in the halls of power.
In many respects, ordinary Christians have been blessed with opportunities that elude many who serve in the halls of power. Often the Lord blesses His people by withholding from them the trappings of earthly power, knowing that it is when believers apprehend their powerlessness that they are most apt to glorify our all-powerful Savior. In the final analysis, earthly power is like dust (Ecclesiastes 1:14). The Giver of power
Whatever degree of earthly power, influence, or notoriety Christians experience, we are well-advised to acknowledge that our station is an undeserved and lavish gift from our Lord and Master; and that our singular purpose and heartfelt desire is to glorify the only real Giver, our Lord Jesus Christ, with all we have and all we are. As the Apostle Paul reminds us: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:5-7a). Such an attitude—itself a gift from God that bestows true power—is stirring Christians in all walks of life to boldly exercise their faith in our workplaces. Doing God’s work at work is a thrilling pursuit; one that engages each and every one of us. —Kent Johnson 9
HERE WE GROW! Middle schoolers retreat to Sky Ranch
As we wish a farewell to our sizzling summer, we gladly welcome the cool weather of fall. This past weekend the middle school had its annual Fall Retreat at Sky Ranch in East Texas. We enjoyed new friends, cool weather and great teaching from Mike Haberkorn, Middle School Director. Along with a hot fire and delicious s’mores, we spent the majority of our weekend outside playing games and enjoying God’s beautiful creation. We departed on Friday, October 5, with a busload of 50 middle schoolers bound for a weekend of fun. After an hour and half of the students belting out Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber songs, we finally arrived! It is safe to say that upon our arrival the atmosphere was full of high-energy and anticipation for the weekend to begin. After settling in, we began our retreat with announcements, games and a sweet time of worship. During the evening lesson, Mike laid out the theme of the retreat, “Here we Grow,” and we broke into small groups to discuss what it looks like to grow spiritually on a daily basis. When we shut our eyes Friday night it was a comfortable 70 degrees outside. When we woke up Saturday morning, a cold front had transformed the dry East Texas landscape to a chilly, rainy 50 degrees. We began the morning with a skit and worship and closed with a Gospel presentation from Mike. From there the students and staff broke into small groups for some alone devotional time with the Lord. This was a time to reflect on what we heard from the Lord through Mike, as we read through provided scriptures and questions and had a time of personal prayer.
After our devotional time the students had a free time full of throwing the football, playing a camp favorite—smashball, tackling the complicated mazes, bouncing on the land blob, enjoying a cup of hot chocolate, or just hanging out with fellow students and leaders. After lunch the group was divided into two teams, green and gray, to compete in a handful of friendly games. Although the gray team dominated the first few games, my green warriors quickly stormed back. After dinner the group had another wonderful time of skits, worship and teaching from Mike. Once the lesson was complete, we broke into our small groups to seek personal application from the Gospel lesson. The evening was full of more team games, as the girls tried to beat the guys in dodge ball. The night ended with a campfire and s‘mores. Sunday morning consisted of an unbelievable time of worship and personal devotionals before we ate pizza and headed home. Youth interns Kendall Hines, Grayson Baird, Ashley Murphy
Kiki and Jeff with children (by age and size!) JJ, Jackson, Janey Beth, Jemma Grace and Jill
So why do we go on fall retreat? To have fun, yes, but the primary purpose is to give us a chance to step away from our busy lives and dive into who the Lord is, who the Lord calls us to be, and why we believe what we believe. Our students, volunteers, and staff had two days of limited cell phones, TV, and outside exposure as we wrestled with the Gospel truths. In the midst of having a blast, believing and nonbelieving students had the opportunity to hear the Gospel and see it lived out all around them. We didn’t go to Sky Ranch to just have fun, we went so that the Lord could save those that don’t believe and encourage those that are already His. —Phillip Koons PCPC WITNESS • NOVEMBER 2012
LIFE OPTION My parents were at the circus when I was born. I’m sure they were having a great time celebrating my brother’s sixth birthday, but I was at the hospital, being born.
THE GOSPEL & ADOPTION
—things were going along one way, save us and bring us to the Father, but God intervened, and changed and when Jesus, our elder brother, everything, presents us to not beHis Father He There are times when cause of says, “Isn’t she anything pretty? doesn’t God intervenes in our lives she look just like Me?” Our Fain nearly flagrant ways. ther who loves and accepts us because of what Christ has done on our behalf, begins to see to it that we grow in His grace to look just like our Elder Brother.
I was adopted at birth. Everything was arranged before I was born, and when I was just five days old, my brother, Jeremy, carried me out with the caseworker to present me to my parents and bring me home. I had spiky hair, and I was delivered with forceps, which temporarily pinched a nerve and made my mouth hang down on one side so I had a crooked smile. But when my brother carried me out in his sixyear-old arms, he presented me to my Marissa has still another new family after marrying PCPC’s parents and said, choir director J. Marty Cope on August 18. “Isn’t she pretty? Doesn’t she look just like me?” I deserved as a crooked-faced baby with a dent in my head, but because There are times when God interHe’s God and He’s good and He’s venes in our lives in nearly flagrant sovereign. ways. He interrupts the logical order of things and turns everything As I’ve grown up, I have come to upside down in the best way posbear a striking physical resemblance sible. In my case, He took me from to my family, and once again, I see being an unplanned pregnancy, to the Gospel on display. It’s exactly a pined-after “chosen child” in a what God does when he adopts family where I have been inordinately loved. And there’s the Gospel us into His family. Christ came to 12
This theme of adoption has become a part of my daily professional life.
Having been adopted, I’ve always assumed I survived a near-miss in that my biological parents may have considered the choice not to continue with the pregnancy. As I learned more about the circumstances surrounding many unplanned pregnancies, and the seemingly hopeless nature of many of those situations, I felt called to share with women about hopeful alternatives. God has faithfully provided outlets for me to do just that through organizations like Heroic Media and BraveLove. I was born out of what at times may have felt like a hopeless situation, but because of God’s providence in giving my biological parents the courage to give me life, I have had a life defined by hope. I want other people to have that, to see the picture of redemption and hope that is played out in all of our lives as we are adopted by God in Christ. —Marissa Gabrysch Cope NOVEMBER 2012 • PCPC WITNESS
Siblings by grace Early in our marriage, Reid and I felt called by God to adopt internationally.
When having biological children didn’t come easily, we decided to start the adoption process. We began to pray fervently for the Guatemalan child that one day would be ours. Very early in the process, I found out I was pregnant. My first thought was, “Oh Lord, please let me have both!” I felt very “pregnant” with both of these children, and I did not want to lose either one. Thankfully, we were allowed to continue in the adoption process in Guatemala. We were, indeed, expecting two babies!
About two and one-half years later, our son Silas was born, and I felt sure that we were finished with the kid business. My life was feeling very full of little people, and I did not want any more children, adopted or otherwise. But while reading Adopted for Life, by Russell Miller, the Lord took the scales off my eyes. He clearly said, “You will adopt again, and SHE will be from China.” In the blink of an eye, I went from being a weary mother very opposed to more children, to a crazed adoptive mom who could not fly through the paperwork fast enough. We brought our daughter, Micah, home from China on Septem-
ber 6. She and Silas are less than six months apart. So, here we are again, praying for another deep twinlike bond to develop between our younger two. What a delight it is to see them laugh and chatter together in their own toddler language. The Lord is answering our prayers.
Through the process of adopting, the Lord is teaching me about how He is the ultimate adoptive Father.
The history of redemption from Genesis to Revelation “The history of redemption reveals the whole from Genesis to Revelation purpose reveals the whole purpose of Jesus is that we can of Jesus is that we be adopted CAN be adopted by by our Heavenly our Heavenly Father.” Father. If my love for my adopted children is only a tiny glimpse of the love my heavenly Father feels toward me, when I get to heaven and experience the fullness of His love, I feel sure it will be more than I can bear! If you are in Christ, you have been adopted! What joy!
Our prayers for our babies became, “Oh Lord, as iron sharpens iron, let them be best friends that encourage each other in righteousness.” Caleb came home from Guatemala just weeks after his younger brother, Bennett, was born. These boys are only seven months apart, and they are like twins. We still continually pray for the iron sharpening iron bit. Five-year-old boys, don’t necessarily spur one another on to love and Reid (holding Silas), Caleb (lower left), and Bennett greet Ellen and new good deeds! daughter/sister Micah arriving at the airport from China.
PCPC WITNESS • NOVEMBER 2012
A churchwide fast and prayer time, Hungering for Life, will be held November 10-11 on behalf of the unborn and for the increase of adoption. God is our Father. Jesus Christ is our brother. Let’s come together in worship, praise, and thanksgiving as we ask the Lord to give us His heart for adoption. —Ellen Porter 13
Interning at DPRC: A summer blessing
his past spring I began to think and pray about my summer plans once I completed my freshman year of college. I wanted to serve in an organization where I could both reflect on what I had been learning and reinforce it through serving. My hope was to be useful and also learn from the people working there, so I began to pray about and consider my options. The Lord brought Dallas Pregnancy Resource Center to my mind. I was aware of the ministry due to the newsletter they publish and also through with my family’s friendship with the Fogertys. My family had participated in a service project the previous year at DPRC organizing closets, and my dad did a great job of assembling baby equipment! I continued to pray, research, and listen for His guidance. Joy Stimson works at DPRC.
The mission of the DPRC, empowering women and their partners to choose life for their unborn children and life in Christ for themselves, is inspiring. Compelled to help, I contacted Mary Jayne Fogerty to see if I could help, and she asked if I would like to be an intern. There was much rejoicing that day at the Stimson household because we knew that the Lord had plans for my summer that reached far beyond my living room.
Early on I saw evidence of the Lord’s faithfulness in bringing me to the ministry where I worked on research and administrative projects, learned front office procedures, shadowed in the counseling room, and chaperoned in the clinic. The staff was so welcoming and encouraging; it was a joy and a privilege to work beside them. They are changing lives with each person who walks through their doors, and I praise the Lord for giving me the opportunity to watch and learn. Answering the phone there is no easy task. Jan, just one of the wonderful employees, encouraged me each day, “Be patient with yourself, and every time you pick up that phone, say a little prayer for yourself and for the person on the other end of the line.” Prayer is an integral part of the work at DPRC; the staff and volunteers bathe everything in it. They pray for and with the clients, for each other, and for wisdom in decision-making. Praise the Lord for women like these! I could not have asked for a better first job. —Joy Stimson sophomore in Texas A&M Business Honors Program 14
From Youth for Life Club to DPRC intern
n my first year of high school I joined the Youth for Life club at my school. Going into our first club meeting, I had very limited knowledge about the prolife movement and abortion in general. As I participated in the club over the next two years, my eyes were opened. I found myself leaving our meetings heartbroken from hearing the statistics about the number of children who are aborted every year, month, week, day, and minute. During my junior year, my passion for promoting life grew. I was excited to take on the roll of president of the club, leading and educating the members about the evils of abortion and the lies that so many women are told about their pregnancies. Throughout that year, I maintained contact with Dallas Pregnancy Resource Center (DPRC) Executive Director Mary Jayne Fogerty. With her help, three women from the DPRC came to share their testimonies in front of our club. These women’s real life stories made the reality of abortion and unplanned pregnancy apparent to the 20 student club members. I decided that I wanted to dedicate part of my summer to helping the DPRC in any way possible. I was incredibly blessed to work there and was fascinated with the things I learned by listening, watching, and helping. Among my assignments were administrative projects, research, client interaction, and brainstorming marketing ideas. I was surprised by the number of older women who came to the ministry; I thought the majority of clients would be teenagers. Mothers who have a child or two also come to DPRC for assistance. The services DPRC provides are critical to women who finds themselves in unplanned pregnancies. It is amazing to work alongside people who selflessly dedicate their time to a ministry where life and death are on the frontlines daily at their work. —Mary Grace Keith senior at The Cambridge School Mary Grace Keith and Annie Neely deliver gift bags to DPRC moms.
NOVEMBER 2012 • PCPC WITNESS
A new vision
Lisa Fulmer brings a Bible lesson to life for Kids’ Club
year ago I was discouraged. It had been a long, hot summer of unemployment. It was the kind of unemployment that plagues us over-educated young things right after graduation when we realize that our liberal arts degree isn’t going to get us any interviews, and our hard-won master’s degree in the curriculum and instruction of ESL doesn’t mean anything without a teacher’s certification. We begin to wonder if God’s “plan to prosper us” is a little less material than we had envisioned. But it is my privilege to witness to you today that God has a vision much clearer than mine. He had prepared me perfectly, and by October He had placed me, humbled and grateful, here at PCPC as the coordinator of the English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) Ministry. When I say that God’s vision is clearer than mine, I mean it is much bigger. I thought that having vision for my life really meant having plans for it, and I found myself discouraged and confused when my plans fizzled. But God showed me that His vision is to build His Kingdom. My vision needed to be submitted to His and to the guidance of the Holy Spirit to be right. Vision is critical, and mine is forever changed. Vision means fixing your eyes on Jesus and knowing His vision for His plans in His timing. That’s why, as the ESL committee worked to articulate the vision for our ministry, we sought to express a vision for His Kingdom, a vision submitted to and convinced of the power of the Holy Spirit. I’d like to share that vision with you: ESL at PCPC exists to reach our non-English-speaking neighbors for Christ through teaching English, and by mobilizing, developing, and equipping volunteers as English teachers and evangelists. ESL is primarily a ministry of relationship. As we encourage our volunteers to think like missionaries, we want to strengthen their relationship to the church and to the call to Extend the Kingdom in Dallas. As we minister as part of a team we admonish one another to use the gifts God has given us to build up the body. As we seek to make discipleship relationships with our students and their families, we value community created by the Kingdom of God. And as we pursue spiritual empowerment, we submit together to the Holy Spirit, knowing that God alone does lasting work. In these things ESL seeks to strengthen relationships to one another, the church, and most importantly to Christ, humbly relying upon the Holy Spirit to work. It is in that humble reliance upon the Spirit that I ask you to pray. Please pray. Pray for this vision, that we might think like missionaries, minister as a team, value community, and pursue spiritual empowerment. Pray that the Kingdom would be extended to our neighbors here in Dallas as a result of ESL at PCPC. And finally, pray for the volunteers that God has called and will call to be Spirit-dependent missionaries this school year. —Elizabeth Cunningham PCPC WITNESS • NOVEMBER 2012
ESL Kids’ Club
It is our desire that the children in ESL Kids’ Club would view Tuesday and Thursday evenings not simply as “going to ESL with their parents,” but as an opportunity to learn Bible stories and have fun through songs, games, and activities. We have the privilege of watching transformation happen in their lives. Winsome Thomas, ESL Kids’ Club Leader, shares a few of those stories of transformation from last year: “The children in Kids’ Club were drawn into each lesson week after week. The stories captured how God made us and all things. Teaching about Adam and Eve as special creations in God’s image and how they disobeyed God proved very important in the way students began to be impacted by the Bible stories. During one of our weekly question-and-answer times, one student reported that they were being taught evolution in class—specifically that humans came from monkeys. We were very excited to use this opportunity to show the children that, in fact, God made us. We reviewed this for several weeks, making sure they would not forget it. What was interesting was that the children quickly accepted their special creation by God. This may not seem a big deal, but it is a major step in the process of transformation of these young lives. “The most significant example of transformation that we saw in Kids’ Club came toward the end of our second semester. One parent became interested in our church and started to ask about Bible studies and services because her daughter kept telling her stories about what she was learning in Kids’ Club. We were excited to see the impact that it is having on families, but even more so about the impact that it is having on these children. Our ultimate goal is that they will come to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and grow in their relationship with Him. We are planting seeds; we pray that they will bear much fruit.”
continued from page 1 after every conversation we had. We asked those who are wiser than we and those who know us well about this venture. We questioned those who have faced similar situations and made similar decisions. We spent time talking with and listening to members of Christ the King and ultimately felt the Lord was pleased with the decision to go. It entailed large amounts of thinking, talking, asking, and then finally stepping. How did you ultimately hear the Lord’s call to go? Most recently, I heard a clear message from the Lord when Mark preached on Peter walking on the water—the faith to leap out of the boat and walk the waves toward Jesus. I’ve spent the last several years writing about stepping out in faith. I figured it was time for me to practice it. I also felt affection for the people of Christ the King after spending time with them. They are such a resilient body—not having a pastor for so long. That enticed me. God in His sovereignty has been preparing me for a while. I remember about a year ago reading The Hobbit to my son and pausing at the moment when Bilbo’s “tookishness” beckoned him to step out with Gandalf on an adventure. My “tookishness” is beckoning me. What will be your first steps? My first step is to be with the people of Christ the King, and to hear their stories, spending time praying for them and with them. Then together as a body ask what God would have us do. What will be your first sermon? It will be Advent, and I am preaching from Isaiah 6. What are some family concerns? The obvious is the bittersweet departure from PCPC because we love this church. The other is getting to know a new community—especially for our children. But we’ve already been bridging that gap. Plus we have the chickens, so we’re good. What wisdom did you hear from others? Mark Fulmer challenged me with a profound question: “What would you do if there was no fear attached?” That question encouraged me. What are your fears and how do you face them? There is nothing in life from which you can see the end from the beginning. I feel the normal anxieties when one steps out in faith. It’s the Baggins in me. I face those fears by confessing them to the Lord and talking them over with my wife. I remember His faithfulness, which He has demonstrated in the past, and that gives me confidence that He’ll do it again. What has PCPC meant to you over the last decade? This church showed me kindness as I learned the breadth and depth of pastoring. They loved us in our joys and our hurts. I have been privileged to witness stories of redemption and live among a loving people, serving them. Words cannot express. —Interviewed by JD Lemming
pcpc Vol. XXII, No. 4 • NOVEMBER 2012 Park Cities Presbyterian Church 4124 Oak Lawn Avenue Dallas, Texas 75219 www.pcpc.org
Periodical Postage Paid at Dallas, Texas
Counseling help reaching church and community
he Counseling Ministry at PCPC has seen God continue to bless its ministry over the summer and into the fall. Here are just a few highlights related to the launch of PCPC Counseling Services, as well as the continuation of our DivorceCare ministry: PCPC Counseling Services began providing direct feebased counseling services earlier this year, and we are pleased to see how God is working in many lives through this ministry. We have been able to help a variety of individuals, married and engaged couples, and whole families. We have good number of counselees from the PCPC community, but just as many coming from outside the church. It has been a wonderful opportunity to share the grace of our Lord with the broader community. A video capturing the motivation to establish the service and its vision can be found at www.counseling. pcpc.org. We hope God will use this video to answer initial questions about our ministry and to assist people in making that crucial first step in asking for counseling help.
DivorceCare ministry growing
God has also blessed the continued work of the DivorceCare team. He has brought more people into this ministry this year than He has in the last few years combined. Divorce and separation are such painful experiences, and God has called PCPC to provide a place to share and receive biblical guidance and support from mature Christian believers. While we know that God hates divorce, we also realize that God makes provision for it and that so many people who walk that painful path will end up walking it alone. We are pleased to see God use this ministry to bring ministry leaders into a place where participants can receive direction and support. For more information about our ministries, please feel free to contact us at 214-224-2693 or firstname.lastname@example.org. —Jeff White