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Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

To all of our donors, prayer warriors, volunteers, and cookie evangelists, we cannot thank you enough for all of your help during this past Christmas season. It was a red banner year for us.

I think the first year we did the cookie outreach, we made about 300 cookies and passed them around to our neighbors on platters. In the second year, we went up to 1,000, the third year, 3,000, the fourth year 10,000, and this year, we had anticipated anywhere from 12,000 to 14,000 but due to the overwhelming success and demand for more, we ended up baking 20,000 cookies.

It's a joy to think about where all these cookies went. Each year, we have wondered, "what can a cookie do?" and in years past, we have searched the highways and byways looking for those who were down and out and needed a touch from heaven. This practically meant people at malls, bus stations, train stations and the like. But, this year, much of the cookie distribution went into the hands of others to give out in their areas of influence. From just a few of the testimonies, we know that these cookies went out to mobility drivers, methadone clinics, dialysis clinics, homeless shelters, government agencies, college campuses, and diverse neighborhoods all around the greater Baltimore area. Each cookie pack, with two beautiful homemade cookies and a cookie tag talking about the love of God and the gospel message. Up until the last days before Christmas, people were calling for more cookies to hand out. This year, more than the previous years, people's hearts were so very open to these cookies. We are grateful to God to have had the experience of the past four years to aid us in being able to make 20,000 cookies this year while this window is still open. Thanks again to everyone who played a part. Only heaven knows what a cookie did this year! I just have fun thinking about it.

 
A Quick Update

A lot has been going on, so I will quickly try to keep you in the loop.

First off, thank you, thank you, thank you for all those who have donated to us during this Christmas season. From gift cards, to Christmas trees, to commercial kitchen access, to just plain old money, this Christmas outreach has greatly benefited from your benevolence. So once again, thank you.

We have baked about 8,000 cookies so far. This weekend, we'll bake another 4,000 thanks to the generosity of Ed Hoffman and his catering company, Hoffman & Company, who has allowed us to use their commercial kitchen to bake these cookies (a commercial oven makes a big difference)!

This is our fifth and largest year for the cookie outreach. When we're done, we'll land somewhere between 12,000 and 14,000 cookies. Because the word has spread, this year, we got started early with our Cookie Promise program. This allowed people to preorder sets of cookies to use at their own outreaches, or at their workplaces. We have also been using these cookies to jump start various church plants to break the ice in these new areas. Tonight, we were in Laurel, MD where Pastor Love is beginning a new church, and through the coming weeks, we will be doing the same in areas like Federal Hill, Maryland, York, Pennsylvania and Silver Spring, Maryland. Each cookie tag still has the same gospel message, but the backs have been customized to promote whatever church or events are going on in that particular area. In addition, we will still continue to hit the popular areas of Baltimore as well as our own highly populate apartment complex to share the good news of Christ's birth and love for His people.

Lastly, this year we partnered with New Vision House of Hope to help with their annual Christmas party for the homeless. (This is the same non-profit that we worked with on Thanksgiving to serve two of their women's shelters.) It was such a joy and a blessing to be there. Charles Culver, the founder of New Vision House of Hope, who we met in York, PA, is quite an incredible guy. His heart for the people he serves is hard to put into words, but let's just say... astounding. There were probably about 150 homeless there. We went from table to table caroling their favorite Christmas songs as well as giving out the cookies. By the end of the night, some were singing carols to themselves with such joy. One of the board members looked at us and said, "you really started something here". We look forward to joining hands again next year, this time with a full Christmas production in mind. Glory to God, He is doing great things. As the days continue, more and more cookies will reach the hands and hearts of those who are hurting and need a touch from God. Please continue to pray with us that He would anoint every step, every word, every cookie, that souls would be reached, comforted, and added to His kingdom. God bless you all.

 
Much To Say

A lot has happened since our last update although we have only been back a few short weeks.

Christmas Cookie Outreach

First, we officially kicked off our annual Christmas Cookie Outreach. So far, we have 3,500 cookies under our belt. Great job, guys and thanks to ALL who have donated funds, supplies, prayers and time! For those of you who don't know, this is our fifth year doing this outreach. La Tascha has always had a heart for people during the holidays. She has known what it is like to spend it alone and to feel like you have no one who cares. Therefore, we have always opened up our home to include anyone and everyone for the holidays, but five years ago, she put forth the vision of baking home-made Christmas cookies, tied off with a message about the love of God and hitting the streets to find anyone who needs a touch from heaven (don't we all!). This year is no different, but just on a larger scale. I think we will end up baking something like 15,000-20,000 cookies. We have taken orders from people in the church so that they can give out cookies in their own outreaches or work places. It's amazing how willing people are to take a cookie and therefore read a gospel tract. Secondly, we've partnered with some other local and regional churches as well as some Baltimore City homeless shelters to hand out cookies there. We are excited to see what God will do this year through the many cookies we have made with love.

Thanksgiving

We had a very sweet Thanksgiving. Intimate, but filled with people from all walks of life. Some we are only just getting to know, and some we have known for years. What made it even sweeter was breaking up into teams to host Thanksgiving for two women's homeless shelters. This was our first year partnering with New Vision House of Hope, a locally based Baltimore non-profit, and their women's homeless shelters. Thanks to our donors of pies and turkeys, all those who cooked, and the team who went out to serve, we were able to provide a full thanksgiving feast. The women were moved and unbelievably grateful that they were able to have a real Thanksgiving. We believe this is only the beginning of a beautiful relationship with New Vision House of Hope and their ladies.

Montreal


After cleaning up the Thanksgiving meal, we left at 7am the next morning to drive to our sister church in Montreal, Canada. There were fourteen of us on this trip. The weekend was power-packed and met with a very special anointing from God for evangelism and deep encouragement to the body there. The weekend began with a ladies' Bible Study at a lady's house who is newly saved in the church. She was deeply blessed as were all those who attended the Bible study. God continues to speak to our hearts about the value and ministry of women. Saturday morning, we had a tremendous time on evangelism. Each team that was sent out could tell stories, but just to highlight a few. The man sitting next to us in McDonald's as we were meeting to go out, ended up coming to our Saturday night concert and then brought his girlfriend to come to church on Sunday. One of the houses La Tascha knocked on invited her in because it was so cold. Little did she know, the lady was a Mormon! Nevertheless, inactive because she has had to take care of her mom day in and day out who has been in a vegetative state. This lady was hungry for the gospel and promised La Tascha she would make it to the concert that night. She did. In fact, she brought her daughter, and her daughter got saved at the concert. Incredible! The concert, interspersed with anointed skits, mime, testimonies, and preaching, resulted in two salvations, church the next day had seven new visitors, Gwen had one of the most memorable soulwinning experiences at an Indian restaurant answering question after question from a hungry Religious Studies professor. The stories are endless, God was good, and our hearts were greatly enriched. We are planning another summer harvest there in late July. Thanks, P. James, Jill, and the rest of the Montreal church, for welcoming us with such open arms. When the people lift Christ up high, God cannot help but show up, and He did.

Onward

Please pray for us as we turn our full attention to this Christmas season. It is a time for souls, souls, souls. God bless you.

 
God Loves Women

We just returned from a multinational missions trip to South Africa, Zimbabwe, France, and England. Although we were not sure exactly what we were going to expect in each country, we very much sensed the workings of Ephesians 2:10. There were great works preordained for us to walk in, particularly with regards to women. Perhaps, like the cries of the Israelites in Egypt, God had heard, and God was sending. La Tascha was asked to speak session after session to an unexpectedly large audience. The women were very hungry. Beyond the boundaries of nationality, age, and culture, women's hearts were aching to know their value and their place before God. Below, is an excerpt written from La Tascha to one of the women's leaders in Uganda regarding the trip.

"I spoke extensively in South Africa and Zimbabwe on value, vision, virtue and spiritual imagination. It seems to be God's heartbeat for the moment. Isn't it amazing that God's first words to women were judgement as recorded in the Bible in Genesis 3? I believe this is in the psyche of many women. God says, "What have you done?" Other than a small hint of his love for us in Genesis 16 concerning Hagar and then to Manoah's wife in Judges 13, we do not hear from God personally until Christ comes on the scene. What a beautiful moment in Luke 1:28, when Gabriel announces to all of women, not just to Mary, God's intent, and really, what God thinks of us. "Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women." I believe the blessing to Mary is not that she is above women, per say, but she is the first to hear after so many thousands of years of silence, that God loves women and has a call on their lives. That is her blessing."

La Tascha did an incredible session on the chronological development of women's ministry in the Bible. I don't think I've ever heard anything like that before. From the first encounter in Genesis 3, to a full blown model of of our precious ministry to Christ in the gospels, God loves women. The trip was amazing. Many women were weeping. Not just in South Africa or Zimbabwe, but also in France. Two quick testimonies among the many that have already been forgotten. Between the three countries, one older woman told me, and then publicly said it again, that finally, she could sleep at night. That for decades, she has not slept well because her heart was sick and deeply troubled. She said she slept like a baby for the first time since she could remember after hearing what we spoke on. Her heart was at rest. A second woman, from another country, said that she and her mom were deeply blessed because their whole lives, they had thought that they had been created to just be mothers, and for the first time, a heavy burden had been lifted off, especially her mom's shoulders. From this, La Tascha asked, "Is not this the gospel? Is this not the purpose of women's ministry. As I stood watching so many women weep, some returning to church after so many years, some very deeply wounded, I was completely mesmerized and gutted. God values women. God values women's ministry. Praise to the one who does not forget his dreamers."

The sessions were recorded and will be added to the website shortly. Thanks for all your prayers regarding the trip. It was a very rich time.

 
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