Message given by Levi Velasco at Accelerate!GLINTS Fundraising Event
November 30, 2018, First Presbyterian Church of Evanston
As people of the Scriptures let me read to you the text I chose for tonight. It is found in 1Corinthians 3:18-19
18Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. (NIV84)
I am so happy to see you all here. I have had such a wonderful time but as the saying goes all good things must come to an end. Thank you for coming and supporting our event. As all of us have enjoyed a great time, there have been recent events which cause me to pause and think about how I live my life.
In recent days, an American missionary, John Allen Chau, was reported to be killed by tribesmen on North Sentinel Island which is part of India, 820 miles east of Chennai. It is a remote place where Christianity has not taken root. John’s goal was to live among the locals, share Jesus and translate the Bible into their language – a skill he developed through his training with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Sadly, this secluded people group has been known to be hostile towards outsiders, missionaries or not.
John consistently wrote in his journal. His last entry was November 16, a day before he was killed by tribesmen using bows and arrows. That same day he narrowly escaped death, having been saved by his Bible, which shielded him when it was struck by an arrow. John knew he might lose his life trying to reach the Sentinelese, but he was unfazed. He attempted to engage the people on November 17th, only to be felled by the tribesmen’s arrows.
For those of us who possess a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we understand the meaning of such terms as conversion, conviction and the call of God upon our lives. Sometimes family members and close friends don’t fully comprehend or pledge support when they see those who rise to the call. Yet, God provides the encouragement and direction to those who obey, and blesses those who support.
As Diane and I prepared to volunteer as disaster relief workers in Japan after the triple disasters of 2011, some friends and relatives “scratched their heads” not understanding why we would go. They asked questions such as, “How are you going to survive, you don’t even know the language; or, isn’t Japan full of radiation? You have kids and grandkids here, so why would you risk going?”
We went to Japan for the same reason John Allen Chau went to North Sentinel – the conviction that God’s call was stronger than the disadvantages, discomfort and difficulties we would encounter. The world might call us fools, but the Bible tells me there is eternal reward for a fool for Christ, and deep regret for those who choose to disobey Him.
I suspect there a few of you who would be willing to be a fool for Christ. Like John, you’ve already experienced being sent somewhere to minister. Even tonight, you may feel God is calling you to leave everything and follow Him wherever He may lead.
Tonight, He may be calling some of you to give like you’ve never given before. May your ears and hearts be fully open to His promptings, whatever they might be for you. And may the indescribable peace God gives when we say “Yes” to Him carry you above any concerns that may try to rob its landing in your soul.
Levi Velasco, Author
A month and a half ago, GLINTS was contacted by Dr. David Boan who is the WEA director of humanitarian advocacy and service. Having known of the Velascos’ experience after disasters struck Japan (2011) and the Philippines (2013), David wanted them to prayerfully consider training Christian leaders in the Caribbean in disaster response. So, when David called, Levi and Diane said yes, as God had already been giving them a burden to participate in Christian disaster response after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The receiving partners in Antigua were the Evangelical Association of the Caribbean (EAC) and the Antigua-Barbuda Evangelical Alliance (ABEA).
GLINTS’s purpose in Antigua was to come alongside Christian leaders eager to make an impact in the lives of survivors. Antigua absorbed about 1,600 Barbudans after Hurricane Irma hit, the entire population of the island! It is the first time in 300 years that Barbuda has zero long term inhabitants. So, there is much hardship and hopelessness among the survivors.
The exciting news is that there were 21 Antiguan Christian leaders who participated in the disaster response training. This first generation of trainees will have the knowledge base to provide assistance when the next disaster hits, mobilizing their respective churches for this effort. As part of the training, attendees had the opportunity to connect with survivors housed in two shelters by interviewing individuals regarding their experience before, during and after the hurricanes.
The ABEA officer who made all the arrangements also had the wisdom to introduce Diane and me to Antiguan government officials who oversee disaster relief, recovery and rebuilding. We learned from them the dire needs on Barbuda:
What our next steps look like. We are burdened for the children who have not had the opportunity to process their trauma stemming from the disaster. Please pray with us as we explore the possibility of conducting OperationSAFE (OpSAFE) programs in Antigua. OperationSAFE, a GLINTS global partner, is a ministry organization dedicated to administer psycho-social first aid to children affected by disasters and war. OperationSAFE 5-day camps have been most recently conducted in Mindanao, Philippines and Nepal with much success. Prayers for survivors, the Church in Antigua and GLINTS’s next steps are highly coveted, especially for Christians would continue to invest financially in the lives of people in the Caribbean as their disaster woes are now bypassed by the media.
From the Concert Hall to a Disaster Zone. Yes, literally. What a stark contrast as I (Levi) played viola at DuPage Symphony’s first concert of its 2017-2018 season (October 14th), leaving the next day aboard a 5:30am flight to Antigua, West Indies via Miami, Florida. Diane and I, however, had to stay overnight in Miami since our flight from Chicago was delayed an hour. With a tight connection time, our flight to Antigua left without us on board. We consider this delay a God-send as we were able to rest after two weeks of intense preparation for not only our assignment in the trip, but also leaving GLINTS work behind while being gone. We recharged our energies for the grind of days ahead.
Levi Velasco, author
Background. As hurricanes Irma, Maria and Jose were pummeling different areas, Diane, my wife, and I started praying as to how we could be involved in disaster response. The call of God was to the Caribbean, specifically in Antigua where we ministered October 15-21. While there, we met with government officials and received an overview of their response on Barbuda, visited a shelter and talked to survivors, conducted a two-day training seminar on disaster response and consulted with leaders of the Antigua Barbuda Evangelical Association (ABEA). I’ve outlined specific prayer request below so you can pray alongside our brothers and sisters who are in great need. The article below was written on Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 12:00pm.
What a whirlwind of a mission trip! Our last meeting was a couple of hours ago, where we discussed next steps after the disaster response training seminar and workshop with delegates from the Antigua Barbuda Evangelical Alliance, #ABEA. Here’s how you can specifically pray, and feel free to share these concerns:
1) Pray for all those who completed the training, that they will bring what they’ve learned to their individual churches.
2) Pray for the leaders of ABEA, that God will give them wisdom as they plan to be involved in disaster recovery now by providing emotional care to 300 #Barbudans (who are in two separate shelters) and forming teams to help in the clean up efforts in Barbuda.
3) Pray for the 1,600 (not 16,000 as the media had quoted) Barbudans who were evacuated to #Antigua, especially those who live in shelters. Pray that they will remain hopeful and that they will be able to return to Barbuda before Christmas.
4) Pray most especially for the children who are segregated from their parents most of the time in the shelters. Pray for protection of marriage bonds even though males and females have separate quarters in the shelters.
5) Pray that emotional health professionals will give of their time to be available to provide free #counseling to the Barbudans.
6) Pray for the Church in Antigua, that they will be united in being the hands and feet of Jesus in these difficult times. Pray also that believers in Antigua will cast aside cultural barriers and show the love of Jesus to the Barbudans.
7) Pray that the world will not forget that there is still much suffering in the #Caribbean, specifically that funds would be raised to help in the #rebuilding_of_Barbuda.
Levi Velasco, Author
The Little Church that Could
(The Benefits of Giving)
Have you ever wondered if there were any benefits associated with giving?
According to the Apostle Paul, the Philippian church expressed their concern for him and the work he was doing by providing for his material needs. It seems the followers of Jesus in Philippi didn’t even have to be coaxed to give. They gave from the very start, supporting Paul as he ministered in Macedonia and Thessalonica. They saw the need and willingly and generously supplied support over and over again, no matter their own financial limitations.
Paul commends the Philippian believers, expressing his gratitude by listing the benefits of their generosity: 1) their generosity was being credited to their spiritual account; 2) their gifts were pleasing to God; and 3) the Lord was going to meet all their needs. (Philippians 4:10-20).
While raising missionary support in the mid – 1990s, Diane and I tried to get an appointment to speak at a small church in southern Washington. Sherry, our contact, was very apologetic about the state of their church – it was struggling and there were fewer than 50 people attending, and they could not offer us any support. We persevered in trying to get that appointment and after a number of tries, Sherry finally agreed.
We traveled to the church (all six of us Velascos) without any expectations of being supported, as our only desire was simply to bless the congregation. So the few days we spent with these believers, our family ministered in song, the Word and in presenting our future ministry as church planters to Manila.
As we neared our departure for the mission field, Sherry called us and said I think we can do $25 a month. We thanked them. But wait, there’s more! She called two more times and by the time we left for the Philippines, the church had pledged to support us at $125 per month!
The focus here is not on the amount they were able to commit, but on the trustworthiness of God’s Word. Little did we know that while we were serving abroad, God had sent them a “shepherd” who lovingly nurtured these folks. By the time we visited this church family four years later, they had grown to a congregation of about 800! Their sacrificial giving was credited to their spiritual account- their gifts were offerings and sacrifices pleasing to God; and God saw fit to meet all their needs according to Christ’s richest blessings! (Philippians 4:10-19)
Like the Philippian church, the “Little Church That Could” in Southern Washington was blessed beyond measure because they gave beyond their capacity to give, resulting in God’s manifold blessings for the church and community wherein their congregants live and serve.
May each one of us experience the benefits of giving as we follow the Lord in obedience to His promptings!
Jonathan Wilson, Executive Director
An ongoing armed conflict in Marawi, Lanao del Sur started on 23 May 2017 between Philippine government security forces and militants of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf Salafi jihadist groups. The ISIS- supported militants burned churches, Christian schools and the jail and executed those who could not recite verses from the Koran. Most of the 200,000 residents of the city have fled the violence and are in evacuation centers or staying with friends or relatives in the neighboring areas.
We are appealing to Christians all over the globe to help us meet the needs of survivor-evacuees.
You may use your credit card or access PayPal to help families who’ve fled the fighting in Malawi City. Please click the donate button on the OperationSAFE webpage on the GLINTS website for donation instructions. Thanks in advance.
Update (June 5, 2017)
The first OpSAFE camp was held in an evacuation center in Iligan with 52 children in attendance. Pray for OpSAFE leaders that they may be of comfort to children and that many more children will be able to attend OpSAFE camps.
Evacuation centers are filled to over capacity. Pray that evacuees experience peace in the midst of this extreme trial.
PCEC-PHILRADS MARAWI EVACUEES RELIEF APPEAL
(The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches-Philippine Relief and Development Services is a GLINTS partner-organization.)
Hundreds of armed men allegedly belonging to the Maute terrorist group (ISIS-inspired) attacked Marawi City and surrounding towns of Lanao del Sur province (island of Mindanao). The hostilities began on May 16, 2017 and continues as of this writing.
As a result, thousands of families fled Marawi for Iligan City, about 53 kilometers away. The evacuees first took shelter in houses of their relatives but soon many others settled in evacuation areas like the Mindanao State University (MSU) campus, and elementary schools. Presently, streams of evacuees are still pouring into Iligan City. The government has set-up reception areas in these schools and has started rationing emergency food.
PHILRADS is organizing a relief operation for Marawi evacuees and tapping the partnership of Christian ministerial groups for the planned assistance. Iligan City churches are also mobilizing and started gathering dry food/relief goods for distribution.
This particular project aims to provide food and other relief assistance targeting 300 families (about 1,500 persons) presently staying as internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iligan City (MSU campus and Boroon Elementary School). They are mostly Maranao families from Marawi City, who are joined by about 200 students, faculty members and workers of MSU and Dansalan College (both in Marawi City). The relief coverage may be expanded as more evacuees arrive in Iligan. The relief items to be provided are food, drinking water, toiletries and laundry supplies (bath soap.
PCEC-Philrads seeks to raise $6,000.00 to help 300 families displaced by the fighting between the Maute group and government forces. Will you help. Click here for instructions.
Jonathan Wilson (Exec. Director, OperationSAFE), Author
|I am currently in Manila, waiting for a flight for Mindanao. The president of the Philippines declared martial law on Mindanao where I was supposed to do training starting May 24th. Below is updated information regarding pushing through with the training.|
Levi Velasco, Author
In 1999 I had the privilege to serve at Promise Keepers based out of Denver, Colorado where I was introduced to the song, Knowing You, by Graham Kendrick. Singing it again at church recently, I quickly realized that this song embodies who I was, who I am and who I will be. Here’s a powerful rendition of Knowing You sung by Bishop Joseph Garlington at a Promise Keepers event. May this song touch your life deeply as it did mine.
All I once held dear, built my life upon,
All this world reveres, and wars to own;
All I once thought gain I have counted loss,
Spent and worthless now, compared to this.
Knowing you, Jesus, knowing you,
There is no greater thing;
You’re my all, you’re the best,
You’re my joy, my righteousness,
And I love you, Lord.
Now my heart’s desire is to know you more,
To be found in you and known as yours;
To possess by faith what I could not earn,
All-surpassing gift of righteousness.
Oh, to know the power of your risen life,
And to know You in Your sufferings;
To become like you in your death, my Lord,
So with you to live and never die.
Sean Klamm, Author
Greetings, friends. I want to make you aware of an excellent opportunity to help a growing church plant in Carigara, Leyte, Philippines. In November 2013, Thyphoon Haiyan (Yolanda) hit the island-province of Leyte. February 2014, I had the privilege of serving communities in Leyte by documenting through media, the Filipino Evangelical response to the disaster. I worked under the banner of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches and the Philippine Relief and Development Services (both GLINTS ministry partners). The documentation, both pictures and videos, were used to acquire additional funding for disaster relief.
This assignment allowed me to meet some very special servants of God, one of which is Pastor Jimmy Libut. Pastor Jimmy continues to serve the people of Leyte, and he embarked on planting a church there with the help of the locals. They have a thriving children’s ministry and built temporary fellowship center .
Pastor Jimmy and his growing congregation need 100 chairs at ($15.00/chair) for the fellowship center. Currently, the church ministers to at least 40 children each week and baptisms number 16 since church planting in Carigara began. Your support will help this church plant get established in this town. I plan to make the trip to Leyte in the near future to purchase the chairs locally, encourage Pastor Jimmy and his church family, as well as document their joy and thankfulness via photos and video. Your financial partnership and prayer support for this trip would make it all the more special!
In a spirit of generosity, will you give? Thank you for your consideration. Here’s how you can send your gifts. I will personally carry the funds, God-willing, sometime in January.
By Check. Make checks payable to GLINTS and write Chairs for Carigara on the memo line. Please send your check to:
PO Box 962
Wheaton IL 60187
By Credit Card and PayPal. Click here , click donate and follow instructions. Please insert Chairs for Carigara in the comment box.
Levi Velasco, Author
Today this Scripture has been fulfilled, Jesus taught as he quoted from Isaiah 61 in the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:17-21). And so have hundreds of prophecies regarding our Lord from the Tanakh (Old Testament).
Let me present to you what he quoted and stated as fulfilled:
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (ESV)
As He sat down and began to teach he was rudely interrupted by men who listened to Him read the Scriptures. First, there were platitudes, but Jesus exposed their real heart condition: you will not believe in me even if I perform miracles before your eyes. And those you consider unworthy of being ministered to by God will be blessed by His visitation. The reaction of the crowd? Scripture says with wrath! Truly, Jesus was right in saying that no prophet is acceptable in his own hometown. (v. 24, ESV)
And so we live in the present day in an ever-increasing cynical, angry world, raising its collective fist to the One who sovereignly came to set at liberty those who are oppressed, first among the Jews and ultimately the whole world!
This Gospel is what we proclaim at GLINTS through our global staff and ministry partners. May the God of Christmas fill your hearts with gratitude and continued generosity. We are humbled by your continued support.
Help us minister to more people in 2017
2016 is coming to a close. And we rejoice for the great things God has done through GLINTS. Together with joy is our hope that we close this year without a deficit in our account. We are depending on God and His people as conduits of financial blessing. Please prayerfully consider a sizeable one-time gift towards our ministry. As a token of our gratitude for any amount donated, we will send you a mounted canvass picture from one of our ministry trips.
If the Lord moves you to give, you may send a check payable to GLINTS, write Velasco Global Ministry on the memo and send to:
P.O. Box 962
Wheaton IL 60187
Online donation is easy. Click here to access our online donation system.