Episode 052

Church Community Garden, Puerto Rico, & Courage

Mar 15, 2022

A church in Phoenix, Arizona is receiving a big yield from a community gardening project they’ve been pursuing. Itamar Elizalde says Puerto Rico is an island that just can’t catch a break. And Casey McCall writes of what C.S. Lewis calls four cardinal virtues — prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude.

Transcript

A church garden yielding fruit

A church in Phoenix, Arizona is receiving a big yield from a community gardening project they’ve been pursuing.

Cross Church was planted in Phoenix about six years ago and one of the ways they’ve tried to reach their community is through a vegetable garden. The initiative has brought in spiritual fruit as well as vegetables for the dinner table.

Early on, the environment reflected Matthew 13’s hard and rocky soil. Cross Church’s congregation turned over four times with new faces in its first two years.

The Gospel seed began to germinate, though, and right now the church is averaging 100 on Sundays. Last Easter brought a high attendance of 140. Primarily funded by its sending church, additional funding from the North American Mission Board ended recently as the campus became financially self-sufficient.

Relief needed in Puerto Rico

Itamar Elizalde says Puerto Rico is an island that just can’t catch a break.

In the past seven years, it’s faced an economic crisis, two major hurricanes, a political scandal, six weeks of non-stop earthquakes and the COVID-19 pandemic.

But God is using that great need to open doors for the gospel. In her work as NAMB’s Send Relief ministry coordinator, Itamar mobilizes local churches and leads volunteer teams to repair homes and help people in crisis. And as she does, she connects with people in need of real, lasting hope.

“The Lord has used tragedy to awaken the hearts of many on the island who previously placed their hope in money, health and stability and can now see how fleeting it all is in light of the solid-rock hope found in the gospel,” Itamar said.

She is praying the Lord would give the relief team strength as they carry out their important work.

Good News for Today is made possible through our friends at The Voice of the Martyrs, a nonprofit organization that serves persecuted Christians around the world. Founded in 1967 by Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, VOM is dedicated to inspiring believers to deepen their commitment to Christ and to fulfill His Great Commission — no matter the cost. Find out more and sign up for their free monthly magazine at vom.org/goodnews.

The importance of courage

In an article on Baptist Press, Pastor Casey McCall writes of what C.S. Lewis calls four cardinal virtues — prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude. In his brief treatment of fortitude in Mere Christianity, Lewis says fortitude faces dangers and doesn’t back down then the going gets tough.

In the piece McCall speaks of how Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has demonstrated this type of courage and how it has resonated with people.

McCall says this virtue is vitally important and greatly needed in today’s culture.

He says wise leaders should take note and do the same.

You can read the full piece at Baptist Press.com.

Find more stories at BaptistPress.com.

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