The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do.Steve Jobs
Sometimes the things that we plan, tend to hit unexpected roadblocks. The unforeseen situations often get in the way of our agendas and this proves to be frustrating and annoying. However, when we learn to live with margin in our lives, we see God move in ways, and places we would never have expected. The unexpected becomes the miraculous!
Our Georgia Abante Team prepared for a ministry opportunity in Maryland, serving the congregation of Encounter Christian Center (ECC). It was the goal to simply encourage the congregation, especially the newly formed youth group. The thing about that is, as much as you prepare and plan, things happen that leave you speechless and teach you good lessons for your own journey. The ECC congregants were loving, friendly, and giving. They were also, caring in service, and open to learn new things.
The team participated in two youth services, through music, testimonies, games, and preaching. They also attended two cell groups to share their personal stories. The team spent quality time with their host homes, and our director, Brian Schlottmann, spoke in the two morning services on Sunday. Abante was only there for four days, but in those four days, we were served, and pampered in a way reminiscent of the early church. The food never stopped, the music was engaging, the conversations were interesting and full of encouragement with prayer opportunities, and people were thoughtful enough to make us feel special.
The take away from this ministry experience was by far encouragement and service. The team came prepared to serve, yet they felt as though they were the ones who were served. The encouraging thing about the ECC family, is that they are invested in their community. They care about the suffering of those around them, and they are not just talking about it; they are doing several things to reach out to their community. The team’s host parents, and congregants included: scientists, Air Force One and military jet pilots, Secret Service Communication specialists, Chaplains, Business owners, people in the medical field, and stylists among others. Every conversation became a God moment that inspired them to continue moving forward, and to dream big.
Every testimony of salvation from drugs, alcoholism, or other addictions, were a reminder that grace truly is freely given to anyone willing to cry out for help.
Hear from some our colleagues about the experience:
- “The trip to Maryland was very exciting for me. I could connect with my host family, learning some of the struggles they have faced, as well as how they have kept their faith. When we attended a cross cultural service it made me think about Puerto Rico and how much I have learned since my time there. It was a good feeling; the atmosphere was energetic and welcoming. I enjoyed the love and hospitality that the Morales family and the ECC family showed us throughout the trip.”
– Janessa Watson
- “I really enjoyed spending four days with the people of Encounter Christian Center. The people of ECC have a deep love for one another and have a lot of respect and trust in Pastor Morales. I loved seeing the diversity in their church body. Don, Cindy, Kelly and Mike were very hospitable to both Janessa and me. They opened to us and shared their story of excitement for their church family, what Christ has done for them, Don’s new adventure of being credentialed, and Kelly’s new position as working as Pastor Mo’s assistant. I was really impressed with them and their willingness to do anything asked of them. A couple of things that really stood out to me was when Pastor Mo invited everyone to gather up with their family and blessed them saying there are no orphans here! The other thing was vision was communicated very clear: A church where it’s ok not be to ok, however we care too much about you to leave you there! WOW.”
–Pastor Cheryl Kennedy
- “My time in Maryland was an interesting one, I enjoyed it and noted many similarities to the time that I spent in Puerto Rico. I think this was due to there being a lot of Spanish culture in the church, and warm-culture people we ministered to. I, myself preached to a group of youths about being Liked vs. Being Christ Like and received appreciation from the youth, as well as the parents. I enjoyed the trip and the experience that I had there.”
– Quay Jennings
The team consisted of Current Colleagues Janessa Watson and Quay Jennings, Alumni Matthew Schlottmann, Friend of the Program Anastasiya Schlottmann, Mentor & Minister Cheryl Kennedy, and Founding Directors Brian and Beba Schlottmann