Shed-Building Ignites Thankful Hearts in Van

During shed-building in Van, many quick meals were shared like this one last week while we were moving the Metrocrest trailers.  The shed recipients of Van are so thankful that they have initiated the idea of a cookout for the churches that have helped them. On December 12th, we will rejoice together with food, fellowship, and fun for the whole family. Time and place: Saturday, December 12 from 2pm to 4pm on South Bois D Arc St., Van, Texas.

Pray that the churches who helped build sheds will be able to attend and that we will get to interact with many of the families in the area.

Rebuilding Community – We’re not just about sheds!

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It’s exciting to see what a few sheds can mean to a community. As sheds have gone up in a low-income part of Van, it has encouraged the people to work together to improve their own homes. Paint is going on new siding, and there’s even talk of getting together for a cook out “like we used to do.” There is even talk that a playground may be given to the neighborhood as a result of a damaged school having to relocate. How about you? Why not get involved with Sheds of Hope – you can pray, build, give, and encourage others. All it takes is a little time and a lot of love.

Sheds of Hope Loves Dogs!

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When I drove into Van, Texas last week with two pre-built Sheds of Hope in tow, I had no idea how timely my arrival would be! One little known victim of the Mothers Day tornado that hit Van Texas this year is the City of Van animal shelter. The storage units for dog food and other supplies were destroyed. When I showed up with a shed for them last week, the lady behind the counter came out and gave me a hug. “If you only knew the week that I have had!” she said. The time for the temporary storage unit was about to expire. They were faced with having to dispose of dog food and supplies if no new place was found. Praise God that this shed was ready just in time. This coming Saturday, volunteers will set up the shed that was pre-built here in Dallas Texas by Christ Community Church, Frisco. Perfect timing!

John’s First Missionary Journey

Download and Print John’s February Mission Trip

John's Mission TripsMy first trip was a tremendous encouragement and blessing in three ways:

1. MNA – My first trip showed me the great respect and love PCA churches and members have for MNA. I received my first shirts a few days before my trip, and the Logo alone put pastors and church staff at ease. I saw a joyful willingness in others to have the opportunity to share the message of Sheds of Hope.

2. Church Reception – Churches that I visited along the way want more information and are excited be on the list for helping to provide Sheds of Hope in the event of a disaster within their Disaster Zone.

3. Sense of Call – I was deeply humbled and encouraged as I met with pastors and friends along the way. I felt your prayers, and with each stop I was emboldened to share about the work of Sheds of Hope. More than once, God put me in the right place at the right time. What a joy to see the delight in people’s faces as they caught the vision for helping others in times of disaster.

Praise:

  • Many contacts were established along the way
  • 3 Sheds were built on this trip (One of the sheds is being donated to a family whose trailer burned the week after the church had built the shed. They sought to train their people to be ready to build a shed after a disaster, and the Lord already had a place for it.)
  • 20 People were trained and will be able to build a Shed of Hope for their Disaster Zone
  • 9 Churches want to help build Sheds of Hope for their Disaster Zone when they are called upon

Prayer:

  • Building a Sheds of Hope storage shed at Bethel PCA
  • Disaster Response Workshop April 17-18
  • Follow-up with churches from first mission trip
  • Planning for second mission trip

Support:

One Time Gifts or Monthly Support can be given online through the secure website of MNA then

  • Click on “MNA Disaster Response – Sheds of Hope (Browne)” and
  • Press “Continue.”

Blessings, John

Suffering Heroes Show Us That Faithful Living May Not Be Rewarded in This Life

Text to ponder this week

Hebrews 11:35b-38 Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy— wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

Thoughts to ponder this week

1. Humanity is in rebellion against God and in that state, judges faithful followers to be unworthy of life.

2. Our depravity as a human race is seen at its depth against those who are created in His image and live by faith.

3. Depravity is the absence of grace.

“I Thought I Was Just Designing a Shed, but the Vision Kept Growing!”

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I have been pastoring in the Presbyterian Church in America since 1989. Missions has always been close to my heart, and it has been my joy to lead numerous mission trips overseas and in the USA. Over the last year, I have been working with Disaster Response, primarily in Oklahoma.

Drawing upon my training and experience in carpentry, I designed a new shed that could be built remotely, so that more people could be involved in ministering to families after disasters. This design allows churches to pre-build 8 x 8 sheds, giving their people an opportunity to “mourn with those who mourn.” Prebuilt sheds are then flat-packed and transported to the disaster area where teams can set them up, providing much-needed storage for those who are gathering up the bits of pieces of their lives and memories. What a joy it has been to see that this shed plan is now being widely used in disaster response areas!

Since designing the shed, I have worked with teams in Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi to pre-build, transport and set-up sheds.

Just a few days ago, I got back from Oklahoma, where over 400 young people and adult leaders came from all over Texas to help build sheds. I worked with one group in the warehouse where some of these volunteers pre-built fronts, backs and sides to be assembled. I also went out and helped set-up 2 sheds.

One of the families that received a shed had just moved into a new home built by Habitat for Humanity. Before the tornado hit, they had been planning to have an old, dead tree removed from their back yard. Ironically, the only thing left standing after the tornado was that tree!

Now it stands proudly in their yard reminding them of God’s protection in the midst of the storm. The children were at school when the storm hit, and took shelter with their classmates as the storm brought death and destruction all around them.

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The team in this photo came in from Saint Louis to work for Friday and Saturday. Their first pre-built shed was set-up in 1 hour and 45 minutes. Great teamwork! The homeowner and her son and daughter are to the left, in front of the tree.

With every trip I have made to work with Disaster Relief, my love for this work continues to grow. Sheds of Hope is growing by leaps and bounds, and there is much to be done to enhance the effectiveness of this rapid-response ministry.

Update to this Post as of February 11, 2015 

MNA has called me to work with Sheds of Hope. All three parts of the call have been approved 1. My internal call to work in this ministry 2. MNA’s call to work along side them in this ministry and 3. My Presbytery has now approved MNA’s call, and my acceptance of the call has been recorded, as well. Praise God! As of February 7th, all three of these have been confirmed and approved. I am now able to move forward as full time MNA Disaster Response Specialist, Sheds of Hope.

Prayer requests:
• For safe travel on the road this month
• For new contacts with churches and individuals during the trip and training events
• For safety, good weather, and good participation during the training events
• For good health
• For additional prayer and financial support

Online Giving Link:
For those who are able to give financial support, you can access my online account through the MNA website.
Gifts toward my support can be received into a designated MNA account. If you have pledged to my support in the past, you may start giving now.
• Here is the link to my online donation account through the MNA website:
• Online Giving Link

If your church has a missions committee, I would love to get in touch with them, as I still need additional monthly support and one time gifts. Just let me know who to call!

New Furniture Ushers in a New Year!

After months of planning and thinking about the design, we finally purchased the wood for the new Pulpit, Communion Table, Baptismal Font and Advent Candle Stand for First Church. Shedua wood was chosen for its beautiful natural color and striking designs in the grain.

The joy of coming up with a design that would work for the church and all that was involved in building it was the most demanding and time consuming part. There is no short cut to this step.

The staff at the church knew what they wanted for the overall look. They had selected and purchased a handmade glass bowl for the Baptismal Font. Now, the design and framework had a central focus that flowed into the rest of the design.

Baptismal Font

The  grain of the piece of Shedua wood that was used for the communion table reflects the natural tones and colors that are seen from every angle. A clear natural finish was used to protect the wood, while at the same time allowing one to see its beauty.

Communion Table

All four of the pieces needed to flow as one on the platform and be easy to remove, as the church sanctuary is part of a multi-use building.

The Set

Building and finishing all the pieces of furniture took about 120  hours, not counting the time for the design.

In Remembrance Of Me

We were very excited to be able to deliver the furniture in time for the first Communion Service in 2014.

We are reminded during this season of the church calendar of the visit of the Wise Men. “And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2: 9a-11 May the people who come each week be brought to Jesus, seeing him, and not just the things our hands have made.

God has given gifts to each of us. Will you ask him today how you can  use yours to help bring people to Jesus?