The Mission Ministries of FCC Edwardsville have grown from regular financial support of denominational and local opportunities. A few years ago, the congregation felt called to seek larger opportunities to serve. Part of the motivation was seeing the impact of mission trips on the church youth group.
A hallway conversation between Barb Small (church member) and Dr. Brooks (Lead Minister) led to two “Remodeling” missions at a local homeless shelter. The congregation remodeled a bedroom (new flooring, new ceiling, paint, furniture, etc) that would shelter a family of four. The next year, the kitchen of the homeless shelter was remodeled. By now the church was using a combination of budgeted funds and “over and above” donations for these projects.
Kevin Paur and his family began participating in FCCE and the mission efforts. Mr. Paur had experience volunteering with International Institute. Dr. Brooks had memories of his home congregation resettling two families of Vietnam Boat Refugees. The US State Department contracts with the International Institute (a secular organization in St Louis) for a variety of refugee services. The International Institute brings experience and connections to provide meaningful services beyond those funded by the US State Department.
Kevin Paur, Barb Small, and the Mission Team reviewed options to participate with the International Institute. It was decided that a first step would be committing to provide the contents of an apartment and groceries. Adding to the excitement, the arrival of a refugee family and their needs (such as number of family members, ages, etc) are only known with a few weeks notice.
FCCE donated the contents of an apartment for four people (furniture, groceries, linens, etc). A team from the church delivered the items and set up the apartment. This team transformed a barren apartment into a welcoming home. In addition, the congregation donated funds to help with future rent, groceries, and other needs of the family.
Tracy Wetzel, Board Chair, and the Board of Directors have been passionate supporters of this effort. The missional efforts of FCCE are seen as a leading of the Holy Spirit. A faith community committed to youth & children’s ministry followed the example of the youth & children. FCCE has been able to engage well these mission opportunities because of the movement of God’s Spirit leading us beyond the walls where we worship each week. We are simply blessed with this opportunity to serve our neighbor.
The refugee family from Afghanistan has arrived safely and is joyful with the apartment. For more information please contact either FCCE [firstname.lastname@example.org or 618.656.7498] or Kevin Paur [email@example.com]
~ Dr. James R. Brooks, Lead Minister
Find more photos on the church’s website.