Taking a Faith Step

For more than 10 years, a small church plant in the heart of Hagerstown, Maryland, has been reaching out to people in one of the tougher neighborhoods in town. 

“There are a lot of people here that are in government housing, just living from paycheck to paycheck” says church planter, Jeannie Ramos. “There are a lot of dysfunctional families that are really hurting. And there are drugs here. We had a couple of people who were murdered down the street not too long ago. This neighborhood is a little rough.”

Delores, far right, and Erik Bergman, center, participate  in the group discussion.Yet inside the small house where they meet, the fellowship is warm, the hugs are heartfelt, and the food is hot and delicious. This is Faith Step.

Jeannie Ramos and her team at the Faith Step Worship Center are reaching out to people in this neighborhood, people who might not be comfortable stepping into an Adventist church on Sabbath morning.

Delores is one of those who has found a church home in Faith Step. She was invited by her eye doctor, Erik Bergman, who has been part of Faith Step since it started.

“The day I saw Delores she seemed so depressed about everything,” says Erik. “I felt God telling me to invite her to our church with no idea what would happen.”

Delores came to church that first Sabbath and found something that would change her life.

“I can remember the first day Delores walked into the back of our church,” says Jeannie. “She was pulling a little oxygen tank with her. She was stooped over and had no color in her face. She sat in the back row and fell asleep half the time she was there. Over time we began to see her change. She started to participate and come alive as we talked and shared with her. Slowly but surely, God began to heal her in many ways.” 

Erik and friends, worshipping in song.

Delores had been struggling with alcohol. She attended a recovery group and had started to turn her life around. But something was still missing. That’s when she found Faith Step, a church home where she could lean on her faith in Jesus and her new church family.

Although Sabbath morning services are special to Delores, it’s the warmth of Christian love and the acceptance she’s found there that really make a difference to her. 

“My church family has made me feel so comfortable,” says Delores. “They don’t criticize me or look down on me. I can call and say, ‘I’m really feeling down today,’ and they’ll say, ‘Why don’t you come on over’ or they’ll just talk to me on the phone. It’s been very helpful.”

Next door to where Faith Step meets is an upstairs apartment that is home to a special ministry.

Here Faith Step partners with other community organizations to provide a safe and comfortable place where women can stay while trying to get their lives back together. One resident shares her story.

Jeannie Ramos offers encouragement to a new friend. “When I was 12, I started dabbling in drugs and alcohol and thought I’d found what I needed,” she says. “It led to a 33-year addiction. I was so far gone that I had lost all hope until I was totally broken and I asked God for help.”

The walls of this shelter give the women a place to stay but they also learn to rely on Jesus. 

“I do a Bible study class with the women to help them learn to grow in Christ and walk in a healthy way,” says Jeannie. 

Faith Step is more than a church service. It’s a holistic ministry that touches every aspect of a person’s life. It’s a 24/7 ministry that blesses those who give and those who receive.

“As time went by,” says Erik, “I realized I’m not helping them, they’re helping me. They make me grow spiritually. I see more answers to prayer. I see wonderful things happening.”

Please pray for the Faith Step group as they minister to each other and to their community, and thank you for supporting Adventist mission around the world.

This story is from the fourth quarter 2011 Adventist Mission DVD. You can watch the Adventist Mission DVD in your local church or online at www.AdventistMission.org.

ABOUT OUR COVER PHOTO All Smiles

This small boy is one of tens of thousands of Karen refugees who have fled Myanmar (Burma) to the safety of northern Thailand. 

There are about 7 million Karen living in Myanmar, making it the largest hill tribe. They are farmers by tradition and live in homes made entirely of bamboo and thatch. 

The majority of Karen are Buddhists and animists while about thirty percent are Christians. Through Global Mission, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has introduced many Karen to the love of Jesus. 

Yet a huge challenge remains. The Karen are only one of 142 people groups in Myanmar of which 51 groups (81percent of the population) remain unreached by the gospel.* 

Your support of Global Mission creates opportunities every day for someone who has never heard of Jesus to know His peace. Thank you! 

Photo by Rick McEdward,
Study Centers Director,
Adventist Mission 

* www.joshuaproject.net



Fourth Quarter 2011

Sacrifice Offering

An Offering with Heart

Feature

Taking a Faith Step

Global Neighborhood

Global Neighborhood

Mission News

Tithe and Global Recession

Global Mission in Big Cities

The Lost Boys

Cross-Cultural Christmas

How to Share Christmas with Buddhists

 


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