Not In Vain // August 2017 Update

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 

1 Corinthians 15:58


Thank you, Rock City!

In the first week of August, we hosted our third and final mission team for the year from Rock City Church in Ohio. It’s always a blast to have people here from my home church, whether or not I knew them before they got here! In this group, I was able to meet some pretty awesome people and reconnect with several friendly faces. During the week, Rock City attended a women’s meeting at our local church, served at both of our Children’s Development Centers, and gave their all for the people we minister to in El Salvador. Can’t wait to host more Rock City teams next year!

[ translating for my friends Dax and Emily as they shared at our weekly Bible study in the Volcano ]
[ one of my favorite things about mission teams is that I get to serve with these guys and other youth from our local church ]
[ Amazing turnout from both San Salvador and Soyapango at the women’s meeting. Thanks to one of the team leaders, Kelli, for her great message at the event! ]


English Academy Update

Thank you for your prayers for the launch of Academia Gran Comisión (our English academy) on August 7th! We had two different courses planned, one for Mondays and Wednesdays and the other for Saturdays. It turns out that we had much more response for our Saturday classes, and so we decided to focus on only having those weekend classes. I have been volunteering as one of the teachers and practice partners for the Academy, as well as serving on the “board” with other staff members and leaders from our church.

That being said, we currently have 15 students enrolled in the Academy, and ten of them are not members of our local church! With three weeks of classes under our belt, we hope to soon begin meeting with those ten students on a regular, one-on-one basis in addition to the weekly class. The purpose of these meetings will be to give them extra chances to practice their English, but more importantly to share the gospel with them and encourage them to attend and even become actively involved in our church. Please continue to pray that our classes will grow and our local church along with it!

[ Ashley, Moriah and I are switching off teaching classes on Saturdays, and last weekend was my turn! ]

New location, same Great Commission!

This month at Iglesia Gran Comisión, the theme of the sermons has been about service and adapting to change. Why? Because we’re moving! Several months ago, the owners of the house where we currently meet as a church let us know that they would be drastically increasing the rent. That being said, our pastors and leaders brainstormed and searched for months for a new building to call our church home. After exhausting almost all options, it turns out we will have our Sunday church meetings at a local hotel with beautiful conference rooms and tons of space! We will also be renting a separate, smaller house that will be the space we use for church offices, weekday meetings, the English Academy, etc.

In preparation for this move, our pastors have challenged us all to put our spiritual gifts to use to serve the local church. The church hosted a 2-week seminar to help us learn more about our spiritual gifts and personalities so we can have a better guide of where we could most effectively serve God in our church. Even though I’m part of the church staff, my work mostly keeps me at our Children’s Centers and not at our actual local church. I’ve been hoping to find some ways to get more involved with serving on Sundays, and this seminar has been really helpful with that! I’m excited to see how getting more involved could help me connect with more people at our church.

[ Our last youth event in the current location, called “Conectados”. This is an event the youth put on a few times a year, and is focused on connecting with God in a deep way during an hour or so of pure worship. This was the first time that we had youth from three GCLA churches in attendance from different cities in El Salvador – San Salvador, Soyapango and La Libertad. ]


One of the scariest parts about becoming an international missionary has been the idea of having a support-based salary and having to raise funds for that salary. Ever since I began raising support for my move to El Salvador back in February 2016, God has provided in abundant ways for all of my financial needs. Understanding that life is unpredictable, I have recently lost some of the recurring monthly support that fills all of my financial needs here. I trust that He will remain constant in His faithfulness and provision. I am currently about $200 away from my monthly support goal.

Please pray for God to make up the difference in this so I can remain focused on the ministry and the people I’m working with in El Salvador. If you or someone you know would be interested in giving towards closing that $200/month gap in my support, you can visit my giving site HERE or email me at ali.howard@reliant.org. 

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.

1 Corinthians 12:15-18


No matter how near or far you are from me, you guys are essential to my ministry work here in El Salvador. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement!

Bendiciones,
Ali


Prayer Requests

  • For all of the logistics of going from a permanent campus to a mobile one for IGC. Please pray that we would be challenged in a good way and motivated to learn more, serve more, invite more!
  • For all of the non-believers in the English Academy and for the upcoming individual meetings we will have with them to share the gospel and invite them to church. 
  • For the children at our Development Centers as they finish up the school year at the end of October. That they would stay focused on their studies and finish out the year strong!
  • For God to provide the $200 in monthly support needed for me to reach 100% funding again!

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