No Town like Hometown: Christmas Edition Update

Mission Update from Pastor Josh McPherson

Note: this is a transcript of the April 24, 2022 Lift Off Mission Update. 
"No Town Like Hometown Christmas Edition. You guys remember that? You guys remember what we did there? So we did a bunch of different things for that, but one of the things we did was on Christmas Eve we gave some money away. And so Christmas Eve came and we had our Christmas Eve Eve service, I should say.

Maria Gonzalez's Story

And if you were at the first one you saw Maria Gonzalez get a check for $10,000. She's the vice principal at Mission View Elementary School. And she had nominated a family whose dad had tragically died unexpectedly and a widow left with a couple kids and was just needing help. And so we didn't want to give the school the money because it'd get lost. We gave her that money personally. She took that money and gave that money, allocated it to bless that family. Super, super cool. And if you were there that night, it was just a super, super cool story. Love the women in our community who are involved and engaged and caring for these kids and these families who are in trouble.

Cody Curry's Story

If you came to the next Christmas Eve Eve service back to back, you would've heard the Cody Curry story. He's a member of AES crew out here building our barn and our atrium, and he nominated his mom. She has a rare lung disease. She lives in a small house that she's not proud of, full of asbestos, not good for her health. And so he was just wanting to nominate her for a gift. We ended up being able to give him a gift for $10,000. We abated the asbestos in his house and then he got this gift to buy resources and materials to remodel her house, to use the blue collar trades he's learned to AES to then bless his mom.

Incredible story of grace. We've been connecting the dots and got notes from her and connected people that she knows here. Really cool stuff going on there. Really proud of Cody. He’s the kind of man we want to see God raise more up here in our community. That was a great story.

Steven Allen's Story

The third Christmas Eve Eve service, we brought up Steven Allen and his sweet bride. If you don't know his story-- in 30 seconds: Grew up homeless. Never lived in a home. It was cars and shelters and apartments that they'd snuck into. Never got to live in his own home. His dad just wasn't able to provide that way. Steven met Jesus, got a job, got married, was very successful in his business. Realized he could start his own business, work less, make more. Wanted to start his business, but didn't know how to do that because he needed a box truck.

Now I want to back this up. Steven came to me at the beginning of Building Home, which was our resource initiative to build this space four years ago, maybe even five years ago now, and said, "I don't know what to do. Pastor. I've got this chunk of money that I've been saving with my wife to put down on our house, but we also want to give to build God's house. And we're not sure if we should, if it's selfish to try to buy a house for us."

And I said, "Steven, have you ever lived in a house that you've owned or that your family owned?" He said, "Never in my life." I said, "Buddy, not even a second thought. You'll be the first man in your family to be a man, to be a provider, and buy a home for your family. Absolutely no question." He said, "Okay."

Next Sunday, I see him coming down with his wife and an envelope. He puts an envelope in the wheelbarrow, smiles at me, and walks away. And I'm thinking he better not put his down payment for their house in there, right? And sure enough they had. Monday he goes to work. Boss calls him. He's like, "I bet I'm going to lose my job.” Boss calls him in, "Hey, you are the best employee we have. You're killing it. We meant to give you a raise a while ago, but forgot. So by the way you have a raise. And oh, by the way, here's the back payment for the raise that you got earlier we forgot to give you."

To the penny, they matched what they'd given to Grace City Church. Now you can't make that up. What? So, I mean, it's just crazy.
So he wants to start a business. He delivers bread all over. I mean, works at all these bakery food companies around town and the region. He needed a box truck. I heard about it the Sunday before Christmas Eve. So you compiled dollars. You gave him a $10,000 check. He went down to Portland that week bought a box truck for... I don't know how you did it for 10,000 bucks. Had money left over. Tricked it out with a new lift and everything. And the first delivery he made was a box truck full of chips and food that he and his wife donated to ANCHORED. And they delivered it here to the church. Isn't that cool?
And his truck was at the Touch a Truck at Easter. He was like, "Hey, I could bring my box truck out for Touch a Truck. And I was like, "What kid wouldn't want to touch a box truck. Sure. Bring it out."

So he was out there. Steve Allen, everybody, in the box truck. Oh my God, I love it. And there's so many more stories. Again, I mean, these are literally all stories I have that I just don't have time to tell. Families who lost their home in a fire that we got to help kind of fix up to survive in a trailer with a heater while they designed their new home. Widows. Orphans. People who lost their jobs to the vaccine mandates. People who lost love ones to unexpected tragic illness and death. People who've been sick in the hospital for weeks and weeks and weeks who've got to support their business and bless their staff who are keeping their business running while they were in the hospital. Just incredible stories.

Jacquie's Story

One of our favorites here that's just, I don't want to say a standout story because they're all amazing like this, but here's one just to follow up that you know about.

This Jacquie. She shared her story at Easter last week:
That's is her husband with the two kiddos. You remember, five miscarriages and then lost her baby stillborn at eight months last November, right?
And so Mike and Brooke. Mike was formerly employed at Washington State Patrol until his employment status changed because of the vaccine mandates. They nominated them for bless a family because they knew them through law enforcement because Jacquie is a Douglas County deputy sheriff. So they talked, "Would you please come to our church? We have a gift for you."
So in that picture they're ex-Mormons. Don't know Jesus. Don't know anybody at Grace City Church really except for the Ballards and the folks who go here, but had never been here to go to church. That’s Pastor Kyle. Gave them a gift for, I forget, 10, 15 grand, whatever it was to pay for the funeral expenses of their precious little baby, and then to help offset some living expenses from losing his job which was a significant impact all at one time. So that was Jacquie on Christmas Eve Eve of 2022.
And this is Jacquie at Easter Sunday. Isn't that awesome? Christmas '21. Easter '22. Pretty cool story there.

Dorian's Story

That's Dorian, if you remember him. The painter? That's at the staff meeting. We gave him some money to cover his medical bills and expenses. He couldn't paint anymore because of stage four lymphoma. Over in Seattle trying some kind of trial treatment nuked his immune system with all sorts of stuff. Was kind of trying one last wild thing. Didn't think we'd ever see him again. He's the guy who painted the chapel white for us and cut half the bill, if you recall. Gave him some money to pay for living expenses.

I got to give him an air hug two weeks ago because his immune system is shot, and he can't be around people. I think he's watching online today, but he came back from Seattle two weeks ago. Remember we prayed for him four weeks ago. He came back two weeks ago from Seattle cancer free. Cancer free. Isn't it awesome?
Oh, but wait, there's more. I mean, it just keeps getting better in the family of God.

So No Town Like Hometown Christmas Edition. We did The Chosen showing 16,800 bucks to help The Chosen keep filming videos. Marlin Handbell Choir, that concert we did at a charity conference concert. Jail Ministry Christmas workshop, Chris did it with a bunch of kids, wrapping presents for their kids and then the kids for their parents. Gift for Kids. If you recall, 700 unattended kids in the valley were blessed through that initiative in local public schools. And then the Bless a Family initiative I just showed you about.
Friends, here's the point I'm making and then I'll let you go I promise. Just when you think God is not working and everything's going to Hell in a hand basket, and all's I hear is bad news, and what's going on?  

God's always at work.

We just don't always see it or hear about it. Today was the goal to help you hear about it and see it.

On top of tithes and offerings, on top of Lift Off money, you gave away


the week of Christmas last year!

Isn't that remarkable? That's crazy. That's crazy. So super excited."