Happy Independence Day! We have much to celebrate in our country and in the ministry. For 23 months, Chicago CEF prayed, worked, and waited to make the HUB dream a reality, and now it is! Chicago CEF now owns the property on 12th & Madison that we call the Housing Urban Ministry Building, or HUB for short. The many problems that Satan threw our way of getting to the place of ownership of this strategic ministry initiative is almost unbelievable. Through it all, God gave grace and the wisdom to stick with it even during the doubtful times. Now the fun part begins. Next week we are already beginning to do ministry out of the HUB by hosting a 5-Day Club there. However, before much can be done through the HUB, much work has to be done on the physical structure. Months worth of repair and replacement has to be done to meet village requirements and code, and we need your help! Would you consider continually being involved in reaching urban kids for Christ through the Chicago CEF HUB in one or more of three ways? We need people to join and organize work teams to help with repairs on the HUB. If you can swing a hammer, clean up debris, paint walls, install windows, or anything else related to rehab, we need your help! As we repair the HUB, would you pray about partnering financially with us to help cover the costs of repair, which are significant? Finally, we need people who are committed to praying for the HUB project as Chicago CEF moves into the future. In light of recent events, it is more strategic than ever to be reaching Chicago’s kids with the Gospel. If you are willing to be involved in one of these ways, would you let us know by filling out the form below? Thanks for celebrating with us as we continue the process of making the HUB a reality!
God is at work in reaching the world’s children with the Gospel! Last week was Child Evangelism Fellowship’s International Conference. It was amazing to be with 1,100 other CEF missionaries from around the world. Chicago Child Evangelism Fellowship is reaching children with the Good News of Jesus in Cook and DuPage counties. We are part of a fellowship that is advancing the Gospel in almost every country of the world. The attendees of the conference were given a God-sized update on ministry, and we would like to share it with you now.
As most of you know, our primary ministry program is the Good News Club. It is our goal to begin and sustain as many of these weekly, discipleship oriented clubs as possible. Last year we saw a global increase in Good News Clubs of 45%. In 2013 there were 62,393 held in 188 countries throughout the world!
In those Good News Clubs and in other ministries of CEF, 15.6 million children were given face-to-face presentations of the Gospel. Over 5 million of those children made first-time professions of faith in Christ!! All glory to God!
Another bit of exciting news is that CEF is on track to be in every country of the world by 2017 (80 years after our founding). In the history of the Church, there has never been a single organization, denomination, or mission that has had ongoing indigenous ministry in every country of the world. We certainly live in exciting times! Are you part of the Child Evangelism Fellowship? Get on board today! Pray, volunteer, host a club, or donate today!
“Some people don’t believe in early conversion. They complain if you do get hold of [children] and they are converted, they won’t hold out… Well, that is not my experience. Some of the most active men that I have helping me in Chicago were little barefoot boys picked up in the lanes and byways whom I had in my children’s meetings.”
Our Chicago CEF director grew up in Israel. He remembers another boy who was was barefoot and wiggly, bouncing up and down during Good News Club. This Good News Club in Israel was held outside, and as the boy dug in the dirt and tossed stones back and forth, he heard the story about Messiah’s death and resurrection. But as he threw stones, wiggled, and poked his neighbor, he also listened to the teacher. “I want Jesus to take away my sins,” he decided that day.
Every week, year after year, he attended the Good News Club and learned more about Jesus. He grew up to be a gifted musician, artist, and brilliant public speaker, who could have gotten a job doing anything. He speaks fluent Arabic, Hebrew, and English. He began teaching clubs in each of those languages, and he is now the director of Child Evangelism Fellowship in Israel. He leads camps in Israel where Arab and Jewish children can play together and learn about Jesus for a week. Most of these children have grown up barefoot and furious, throwing stones at each other and hearing nothing but hatred about each other’s people groups. But during this week of hearing about Messiah and playing together, these children become close friends and rethink the worldview of hating a group of people they have never met. Many of these children are saved after hearing about Messiah in their own language. Thousands of children in the Middle East hear about Jesus each year! It all starts with this man, who used to be a barefoot boy in a Good News Club.
There is another story of a different little boy whose mother died when he was six. This little boy was also barefoot and furious. He also loved art, spoke multiple languages, and grew up to be an incredibly talented speaker who became the leader of a nation. His name was Adolf Hitler. How would life have been different if Adolf Hitler had attended Good News Club as a barefoot child?
*Please note: this post contains serious material that is not appropriate for young children*
I do not know how to write this post; child trafficking is not a palatable topic. Devastating, yes. Overwhelming, infuriating, disillusioning—but I don’t know how to make it palatable for a blog. Instead, I am going to grapple honestly. Will you join me?
16,000-25,000 women are trafficked or involved in “that” trade in Chicago each year. Of people trafficked, 56 percent entered at ages 16 or younger. Hundreds, and probably thousands of children were abducted or sold into child slavery, usually sexual slavery. Eighty percent of all Chicago child trafficking stays in Chicago. Many of these children do not live to adulthood. The odds say that those who survive often remain in bondage the rest of their lives.
These children are in bondage: sexual; manual labor; spiritual. The occult plays a huge roll in child trafficking, farming children out to clients for money, and keeping them for other abuses. Countless faces appear on milk cartons and Wal-Mart posters each year, and significantly fewer are found. Some of these faces are people who have fallen victim to child trafficking.
Kathy (named changed), is one young woman who grew up in the world of child trafficking and sexual slavery. Kathy was told she could walk away at any moment, but that if she did, others would be tortured in her place. Kathy was told no one would believe her story. Kathy was told that she was ugly and stupid, that she wasn’t worth being loved or protected. Kathy never said a word of what was being done to her. Then in high school, Kathy had one teacher who disagreed with what everyone else said. This teacher had no idea what was being done to Kathy outside of school, but she told Kathy what she saw: “You are intelligent! I tell all my other classes how smart you are!” Against all odds, Kathy believed her.
After a year with that teacher, Kathy was moved to another location, where she continued to be used and abused all through high school. But Kathy remembered what that teacher had said, and against all odds, she went to college. At the end of college, she got up the courage to tell someone her story of abuse, and against all odds, that person believed her. Against all odds, Kathy met Jesus, fought for freedom from her abusers, and found healing. She became a teacher because she wanted to reach out to children who were also growing up against the odds.
One in four girls remembers and chooses to tell about being sexually abused at some point in her life. One in seven boys remembers and tells about sexual abuse. Those numbers are staggering! Against these odds, what can Child Evangelism Fellowship do? We do not extract children from child trafficking, we do not search for missing persons. What do we do?
We tell the Gospel, meeting children at their deepest point of need (their spiritual need). We make Good News Club a fun, safe place where children experience God’s unconditional love—knowing we could be giving these children the one good memory in their lives. We introduce them to the Friend who can help them win against all odds. We pray for each child in our Good News Clubs, knowing we have no idea what odds he or she is facing. We pray for freedom, healing, and restoration each time we see a face on a milk carton or a Wal-Mart poster. We remember statistics like one-in-four, one-in-seven, hundreds of children a year. We pray for children without ever knowing names.