Newsong LA Giving
Giving is an active expression of our faith. It recognizes God as our True Provider and affirms our confidence in His ability to supply all we need. It’s an act of gratitude and dependence.
Malachi 3:10 (NLT)
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you!
As we listen to God’s voice and seek His will for our lives, His plan for giving will become obvious to each of us. In response, we can eagerly give, knowing that it pleases Him. Through our gifts, we prove faithful in the stewardship of all God has provided for us, while He blesses us beyond what we can imagine.
Giving requires the highest standard of personal integrity and discipline. It is not a casual or occasional thing. In 2 Corinthians 8-9, the Bible teaches we are to give willingly, generously, and cheerfully. And our pattern should reflect a regular and systematic plan.
What’s in your investment portfolio? Are you investing for the future? How about your investments for eternity? Newsong LA introduces the Mission Advancement Portfolio for your consideration. The Portfolio will feature a variety of ministries that are doing Evangelism, Justice, Advocacy, or Compassion.
This is an opportunity for investing time, talent and treasure in God’s Kingdom.
We are the Smith family- Randy, Tina, Bryson and Parker. In August of 2016 we moved to Mexico City, unsure of any specifics but quite clear that God had called us to be here. It was initially couched as a one-year commitment, but imposing our own deadline on God’s call now seems to be a bit presumptuous. As a family, we are committed to remaining in Mexico City until He calls us elsewhere.
What began as a simple five-day vision trip in 2014 morphed into uprooting our family and moving to a foreign country. We first came to Mexico City to visit our old friends, Benny and Janice Yu, and to experience their ministry- El Pozo de Vida. El Pozo is an anti-human trafficking non-profit, based in Mexico City. Their mission is to combat the scourge of human trafficking through prevention, intervention, and restoration.
On our initial visit in 2014, we were confronted with two truths- human trafficking is more pervasive than we could have possibly imagined, and that God’s desire for total restoration and redemption, through his unyielding love, is beyond our comprehension.
We returned in 2015 with Bryson and Parker, to see how the kids would adapt to being thrust into short-term missions. We never dreamed of doing long-term missions, so from a logistical standpoint, having them tag along on short trips made much more sense. We both had great, well-paying jobs, we lived in a wonderful neighborhood, and the kids went to a tremendous school. We were comfortable.
But on that second trip to Mexico City, we realized we were too comfortable. Benny and Janice made a casual remark that we should just move there for a year and check it out. Suddenly, every song we heard, every sermon we attended, every day we were reminded, in ways both subtle and striking, that we should not be living our lives in fear. That we should have faith to step out and trust in God.
From the moment the idea of moving to Mexico City was spoken aloud, doors began to open. We simply walked through those doors, trusting that God had something amazing on the other side.
And He did.
We no longer live in our comfortable Los Angeles bubble. We were forced to learn a new language in a new culture. We spend the bulk of our time working at a safehouse for girls who have been rescued from human trafficking. These girls, most around the age of 15 (but at times as young as 9), have been brought to El Pozo from the Mexican government. They will ultimately testify against their traffickers, meaning that the safehouse is essentially a witness-protection situation. The girls receive all schooling, medical care, and psychological and spiritual support on-site. For all intents and purposes they spend all of their time in the safehouse.
Tina and I have become de-facto parent figures for the girls. With a lot of recent staff turnover, and girls transitioning in and out of the safehouse, we have been a constant and stable presence in their lives. Our job is relatively simple- to just be present and love the girls. We teach them English, exercise with them, bring them dinner, attend their quinceañeras, hug them in moments of joy and sadness.
We’ve been here for a year-and-a-half, and feel like God has spoken to us in ways both subtle and profound. Initially, we were here just to listen, to learn, to experience how He moves and works. We got to see firsthand God’s overpowering desire for complete restoration, and how impeccable His timing is.
When we arrived we had no idea what we would be doing, in what capacity we’d be working, even where our kids would go to school. But God was able to put each of us in the perfect place to both affirm our gifts and challenge our weaknesses. The kids have grown immensely, being forced to adapt to a multilingual school when they were monolingual. They’re now fluent in Spanish. Each question we had for our lives here was answered with miracle after miracle of provision.
So what does our day-to-day life look like?
When there aren’t visiting teams in town, we wake up and get the kids to school by 7:45, walk the dogs (one of whom we found abandoned in a nearby forest), and then head over to the safehouse. Most days we are there until we have to pick the kids up from school at 2:15. Randy is on call day and night for whatever maintenance problems arise (and there are many). Thursday nights we bring dinner over to the safehouse, and on Sundays we take some of the girls to church.
Depending upon what’s needed, we usually end up helping out with the other ministries under El Pozo’s umbrella, which are growing exponentially:
One of our greatest joys and privileges is hosting the teams that come to experience what God is doing here. We get to see El Pozo through the eyes of amazing, diverse groups of people from literally all over the globe. It’s incredible to see God minister to every person in a specific way, and to see His desire to bless those who come here. We inevitably have visitors who stay at our house with us for extended periods of time, and we’re always willing to have anyone come down to experience El Pozo De Vida firsthand.
-Casa Transitoria, a transition house for those girls that are over 18 and can move out of the safehouse once their cases have closed. We try to maintain close relationships with the girls who move here.
-Dunamis, a community center in the heart of La Merced, one of the largest red-light districts in Mexico City. The community center supports working women on the streets with a variety of classes (English, nursing assistant training, cooking, Zumba, life skills, personal and group therapy, Bible study) and provides lunch daily. This center provides a safe place for women to build authentic community and to bolster their confidence; they can leave Dunamis with practical, marketable skills.
-Nunayu, a jewelry-making enterprise that grew out of a prostitute-led bible study in Dunamis. This business employs between 8-12 former prostitutes and is employee-managed.
-Dreams, which visits a variety of immigrant detention centers in Mexico City and other states throughout the country. A large percentage of detained immigrants are human trafficking victims.
-Uno A Uno, an education and prevention program aimed at students from elementary school through high school. Reaching the next generation of potential victims and perpetrators is crucial to stemming the spread of human trafficking.
-Awake VR, a virtual reality presentation that allows the viewer to experience the stories of actual human-trafficking survivors, from countries all over the world, in a poignant and powerful way. Randy went to Houston in 2017 as part of El Pozo’s Super Bowl outreach to educate the public.
We feel like one of our primary missions is to support Benny and Janice, the founders of El Pozo. They pour out their heart and soul to run all of those ministries, and their lives are understandably hectic. We watch their kids, help pick them up from school when needed, grab groceries- whatever they need in order to keep everything running smoothly.
But none of this has been easy. While we feel like we are living a dream here, it has been spiritually taxing. We are living in a dark place, surrounded by people who have experienced unthinkable trauma and abuse. It is inevitable that we absorb and internalize that trauma. This has forced us to be much more vigilant in our prayer, as we seek to nullify the enemy’s strongholds. Please continue to pray for us as we face a constant battle against truly demonic forces.
God is doing incredible things here in Mexico City and we feel so blessed that your generosity allows us to be a part of it. Thank you so much for your sacrificial giving, which has opened up this opportunity. Now that we will be in Mexico City indefinitely, we ask for your continued support, and look forward to partnering with you in the future.
If you feel led to support us, we need your help, both financially and especially in prayer. Please consider partnering with us in this adventure of simply following where God is leading.
And come visit us soon!
The Smith Family
Culver City has been an incredible place for our family over the past five years. We were blessed for two years to be foster parents to Tony, who is almost 7(!) and reunified with his mom last year. This past March, we officially became a family of three as we adopted our son Dean, who is such a joy and delight. We have found a home and a family at Newsong LA and our Culver City community is absolutely irreplaceable. God has richly blessed us here. Throughout the past year, God has made it clear that he is calling us to something new. In January, our family will be moving to South Asia for one year while Patrick serves as a legal fellow with International Justice Mission (IJM). Working with IJM, Patrick will be able to use his legal knowledge and expertise to bring freedom to people who, at this very moment, are living as slaves.
There are millions of people trapped in modern forms of slavery throughout South Asia – more than anywhere else in the world, according to some estimates. While laws exist to prevent such heinous injustices, they are rarely enforced on behalf of the poor and most vulnerable. IJM is working to change that, to bring violence and injustice into the light, to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors and strengthen justice systems.
We are excited and honored to join the men and women who are tirelessly pursuing this work, following God’s command to “Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17). We know that we were once slaves to sin but have been set free, not because of our performance or good behavior, but solely as a free, undeserved gift from God, given to us out of his goodness and loving kindness. It is because of this freedom that we are able to leave our lives in the U.S. and pursue justice for people created and desperately loved by the God we serve.
IJM estimates that there more than 35 million people living in slavery today, that is 5 million more people than the population of California. That number is mind-boggling. We are not naïve enough to believe that we, or even IJM, are up for the task of fighting this evil. Only the One who spoke the world into existence is capable of it’s healing. So we ask that you join us first and foremost in crying out to God. Please pray that God would give strength, hope and freedom to the children, women and men who are held against their will, forced into labor and sexually exploited for profit. Pray for the perpetrators, that God would convict their hearts and lead them to repentance. Pray for IJM, that God would bless their work and bring injustice into the light all over the world. And pray for our family as we make this huge transition. Specifically please pray for community once we’re there, our marriage, health and safety, and especially for Dean. Pray that we rely on God for the compassion, patience and strength we will need to live in a place as foreign to us (and as hot!) as Mumbai.
We are also responsible to raise our financial support for the year. We are estimating our cost for the year to be about $31,500. We would be honored if you would come alongside us for the year.
Due to the sensitive nature of Patrick’s work, we cannot post our specific location or updates online. If you would like to receive updates or prayer requests, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to keep in touch with as many of you as possible while we are abroad!
Kevin is working with IJM!
Ever since high school, I have been continually learning about God’s heart for the world and His message of love to all people. From my experiences in college and onwards, I not only discovered God's great compassion and desire for justice in our world, but I have come face to face with the fact that God is, and always has been, a God who sides with the weak and the oppressed.
In April 2017, I traveled with a team from Newsong LA to visit El Pozo De Vida, a safe home in Mexico City for girls rescued from human trafficking. It was during this week that God not only opened my eyes, but also catalyzed my desire to join the fight on behalf of the weak and the oppressed, especially those entrapped in the evils of human trafficking, a global epidemic that affects over 40 million people worldwide, always exploiting the most vulnerable of people (i.e. the poor and women and children). It was upon returning to the States that I felt compelled to take a leap of faith to work with International Justice Mission.
What is International Justice Missions (IJM)?
IJM is a global organization that protects the poor from violence in the developing world. They approach the fight against human trafficking holistically and practically, through rescuing victims, bringing criminals to justice, restoring survivors, and strengthening justice systems. By employing attorneys, criminal investigators, social workers, and other experienced professionals, IJM has brought the fight against human trafficking to the developing world, and change has already been realized for countless communities. For more detailed information, please refer to ijm.org.
What will I be doing?
Beginning in June 2018, I will be serving in a year-long program as a Government & Community Relations Intern in an IJM field office in South Asia focusing on fighting sex trafficking. Our team will be working with high-level government officials on various cases of sex trafficking, and helping the organization further study the current state of trafficking in South Asia. In addition, I look forward to the opportunity to learn first-hand from those in the trenches of fighting for justice.
How can you get involved?
Prayer is the biggest way you can partner with me in this internship with IJM. The fight against human trafficking is daunting, and many facets of the problem cannot be battled by IJM alone, but require the help of the Holy Spirit to be on the front lines. Please pray for the victims, those that have been physically freed but continue to battle emotional, psychological, and spiritual bondage, as well as those who are still physically enchained. Also, please pray for the many staff and volunteers, myself included, who step out in faith and devote themselves to fighting human trafficking.
In addition to prayer, you can join my support team and give financially. As this is a volunteer position, I am responsible for all of my costs throughout the year. I will be seeking to raise $20,000 to account for expenses including airfare, rent, and other everyday living costs during my internship. I am seeking monthly givers as well as one time donors to help sustain me through the year, and any amount that you may be able to give is greatly appreciated and of utmost value! If you are interested, I ask that you prayerfully consider and seek God in your giving as you partner with me in this fight for justice. Please feel free to contact me anytime via email at email@example.com.
Motherhood is a challenging, yet wonderful gift. Moms uplifting moms spiritually M.U.M.S. helps to support mothers of young children (0-5 years old). It provides opportunities for women to fellowship with one another, sharing how God is working in their lives. We want to provide an open, nonjudgmental environment where moms can feel encouraged as they share the joys and struggles of being a mom of young children.
Our goal is also to evangelize to our local community. Fellowship between new moms is a perfect opportunity to share the good news about Jesus. Isaiah 41:13 says “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Many women are overwhelmed by the responsibilities of motherhood, desperately searching for community. We want to spiritually uplift and support these women, sharing how much God uniquely loves and cares for them.
Currently, we will be meeting the first Thursday of every month. We would like to use the funding to provide food, arts and crafts projects, organize a variety of “mommy-and-me” classes, and plan activities for moms of young children. We would be honored if you would come alongside to support our group, Moms uplifting moms spiritually M.U.M.S.
While Celebrate Recovery aims to be a self-supporting ministry from our own contributions, there are some required materials/training to safely launch CR and to follow the DNA of CR as follows. All the funds will go towards the purchases of the following:
CR Newcomer 101 DVD
CR chips (starter kit and additional chips/coins as needed)
CR lanyards for leaders
CR advanced leadership training kit
Leadership training and conference fees
Fellowship dinners and snacks for meetings
Any and all supplies and materials to help support the ministry
Newsong LA is a multicultural church with an upbeat celebratory worship service, relevant message and a community that's involved in local and global concerns of justice, advocacy and the poor.
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