Saturday, May 25, 2013

As our Neighborhoods die...we die.

I recently had the honor of attending the Brevard Neighborhood Development Coalition's Anchor Breakfast. The BNDC is a faith-based organization whose mission is to plan, facilitate, and implement solutions for the revitalization of impoverished communities. To achieve this mission, BNDC functions as a catalyst, partnering with resident leaders, businesses, churches (like Trinity!), and government. BNDC's three major programs --- the Dorcas Outreach Center for Kids (The DOCK), Greater Heights Apartments, and the Evans Center --- are tangible symbols of neighborhood revitalization in two separate low-moderate income communities in Brevard.

The Anchor breakfast challenges people to be anchors in their own communities and to support the efforts of BNDC. I was delighted with the entire breakfast from beginning to end! It was a joy to see some of the kids from the DOCK preform and share testimonies and I was thoroughly impressed with the keynote speech delivered by Steve Johnson, the CEO of Health first.

He challenged the entire gathering first of all from scripture by reminding us that Jesus said "'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Dr. Johnson was referring to the passage in Matthew chapter 25 where Jesus teaches us that if we are to encounter Jesus we do so when we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, give community to the stranger, provide clothes for those without, care for the sick, and visit those in prison. When we care for the "least of these" we are interacting with Jesus Himself. Dr. Johnson also pointed out that Jesus taught that those who are given a lot, are expected to do a lot (Luke 12). Clearly we have been given so much and while we give thanks, we are also called to make good use of our talents for His kingdom. Finally Dr. Johnson referred to Luke 6:44 and how the fruit we produce is a sign of who we are and whose we are. A few verses away, Luke 6:49 says "But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete." What an amazing reminder from Scripture as to the call for us to invest in the lives of others through organizations like BNDC.

Dr. Johnson, drawing on experience and his own humanity, also said that "As our neighborhoods die, we die" pointing out that the key fundamental unit to society is the family and from the family then neighborhoods. Thus, if we allow our neighborhoods to collapse, we can watch our community at large soon follow. Another salient point was that "dropping resources into the middle of poverty will not change anything." Rather than handing out our "treasure" we must invest it in helping families and neighborhoods become self sufficient - exactly the kind of work that BNDC is engaged in.

The last speaker at the event, Botavia Jackson, reminded us that at the DOCK there are many children with difficult lives and when they come to the DOCK "we love them" - the staff loves them, the volunteers love them. The children are not only taught life skills but so are the parents. She promised that if we came to the DOCK, we would love these children too.

I can't wait to attend BNDC's Anchor Breakfast again next year! In the meantime, I challenge you to think about how you can be an build community in your own neighborhood, how can you be missional there, and how can you support BNDC as one of our mission partners? If you want more information about how to give or volunteer at BNDC please email our Mission's Administrator at We are continually involved with this mission partner. I also encourage you to talk to some of Trinity's covenant partners who also have embraced the vision of BNDC like the Kirks, Williams, Registers, Cavallucis, Smiths, Clarks, Sue Birchfield, Jordans, Tomaccios, Wooleys, and many others!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Weems Family Update!

4 years ago, on May 6th, our sweet Sophia was born, then immediately taken to the NICU only to have the 1st of 3 open heart surgeries a few days later, some encouraged us, some grieved with us, and unfortunately some doubted and even said we should have aborted her, but so many prayed faithfully for her. We've shared some of her journey on this blog before. Each year that we celebrate her birthday, we truly celebrate the blessing that is her life and we give all of our thanks to our Savior Jesus Christ who is the giver of life and who mercifully saved our precious baby girl and blessed us with getting to be her parents and experiencing her beautiful light!!! This week we celebrate her and wish a happy 4th birthday to our lovely daughter Sophia who runs, laughs, dances, sings, and plays all because of God's great grace! She is a big sister this year and has been very kind and loving to her little brother. Her favorite way to help is that during bath time she helps pour water on him! 

We also celebrate that Ezra, written about here before, has reached the 2 month mark! We had quiet a bit of trouble with Ezra as he has been suffering from severe acid reflux. We've seen the pediatrician numerous times and also visited Arnold Palmer Hospital. We've been given a few options and lately he seems to be improving. In the past he would wake up every 45 minutes because of his reflux, but thankfully we're getting much more sleep lately! We have been excited to bring Ezra to the recent May Day BBQ event at the church and also he has visited the 10:30 AM service. While Ezra doesn't suffer from the same immune issues as Sophia, we appreciate everyone doing their best to keep from passing any germs onto him as he is in constant contact with his big sister! Ezra has started to smile and hold his head up here an there. We're planning on his baptism on June 30th during the 10:30 service which will, of course, be a joy as we welcome him into this covenant family of God. 

Thank you all so very much for your support, prayers, and continued love as our family grows! We love Trinity Church so much and can't believe how blessed we are to have been called to such a kind and loving congregation. 

Pastors Samuel and Benita