Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many--not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
One of the strengths of First Congregational Church of Naples is its sense of mission beyond its own doors. Jesus said in Matthew 25: 45 “Even though you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.” There are multiple opportunities to become involved in a ministry of outreach to the less fortunate of the world and we invite you to be a part of this meaningful ministry.
Miracle Limbs-Courage in Motion
is our signature charity. Miracle Limbs was founded by Bob Ayres, a member of our church, and his wife, Diana. Bob is an amputee and recovering alcoholic who had a dream about his life and how he could turn it around for the good of others who had lost limbs and who did not have the resources to obtain prosthetic ones. Bob discovered there are amputees all across the country in need of prostheses but who cannot afford them or who have no insurance. Following the dream that was given him, he founded Miracle Limbs-Courage in Motion to be a resource for those needful individuals. It has become a most remarkable ministry and already provided prostheses for countless individuals. The church partners with Miracle Limbs in its annual Bike Ride and other fund-raising events to provide funds for this awesome foundation and cause. Please view the website of Miracle Limbs at www.miraclelimbs.org to learn more about this foundation that touches so many lives. You may want to support Miracle Limbs by donating directly to the foundation as posted on their website.
Help A Diabetic Child Foundation
Help A Diabetic Child Foundation was created by the mother of a Type 1 Diabetes patient. Through her experience, and the experiences of her family, she realized the overwhelming cost of living with Type 1 Diabetes. With this in mind, HADC was founded to provide underprivileged children living with Type 1 Diabetes with the blood glucose testing supplies that they need and the chance to reduce their risk of developing serious health problems in the future. The Balavage Family are members of our church. HADC is a completely non-profit organization with the sole purpose of providing underprivileged diabetic children with blood glucose testing supplies. Please visit their website to learn more about this wonderful foundation, keep informed on fundraisers and to donate directly to helping children in our community. http://helpadiabeticchild.org
If going to another country and doing hands-on work for the less fortunate appeals to you, plan to join us for a mission trip. We are connected with two missions in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Ebenezer School is a school for disabled children in an impoverished part of the city. Lavinia de Ochoa is the head-master of the school. You will love meeting Lavinia, her husband, Juan, and most importantly the precious children that attend Ebenezer.
The Honduran Congregational Mission supports nine churches, operates a bakery, medical and dental clinics, a pharmacy, a feeding station for children, and an elementary school for preschool through first grade. The “home church” of the mission, Emmanuel Congregational Church located in the village of Rivera Hernandez, has adopted the home-group method of evangelism. Lay workers assist with this ministry as leaders of home groups. Both men and women participate in this growing ministry.
The mission’s dental and medical clinics provide health care for clients who would not otherwise have access to such vital services. During a typical six-month period, approximately 3,500 patients are treated. An average of 30 pregnant women per month visit the medical clinic. The nearest hospital to the mission site is one hour’s travel. Most women who utilize the mission clinic cannot afford the expense of hospital births. The mission is in the process of adding a birthing center to the clinic. The Honduran mission supports all staff salaries and pharmaceutical costs.
Dr. Josue Hernandez and his wife, Mari, are a dedicated couple who provide medical and dental care for the needy of the community. You will never find a more dedicated couple and you will love the hospitality and gratitude felt when you serve these people on a mission trip.
Going on a mission trip, working hands-on, and meeting the children of Ebenezer or Emmanuel will definitely change your life and give you a life-time memory. Please call the church to find out when the next mission trip is planned and be a part of it.
Gift Angel Christmas Tree
Each Christmas, names of needy children and their Christmas wishes are placed on the Gift Angel Christmas Tree. Names are selected and families shop to provide the gifts requested. Once collected the gifts are taken to the collection agency and given to the children so that every child has something special at Christmas. What a joy to know you have made a child’s Christmas something special when otherwise the his/her stocking may be empty.
New Horizons of Southwest Florida is located in Bonita Springs. New Horizons targets minority kids with after-school learning opportunities and mentoring. Over 40,000 hours of mentoring and tutoring are given each year to ensure these children have the skills to become all they can be. The Super Kids Club Choir sings in our church once a year and several of members volunteer as tutors in the after-school program. If you want to touch a child’s life, why not become a volunteer? Please visit the New Horizon website at: www.mysuperkidsclub.org
Around the Globe Missions
FCCN has a wide reach in terms of its mission outreach around the world. Direct support is sent to the following missions:
The Congregational Church of Myanmar: The Congregational Church of Myanmar was founded in June of 2000 through the Rev. Sa Do. The mission is committed to preaching the Word through local churches. Therefore, church planting is at the forefront of CCM ministries. Since its inception, CCM has planted four churches that minister to those who have converted to the Christian faith. Five pastors and seven mission workers share the Gospel message with the churches and those served on the mission fields. Mission workers and pastors do not receive salaries but rely primarily on the generosity of those they serve. In addition to worship and evangelism, CCM oversees the following mission ministries:
- Personal Evangelism
- Discipleship Training
- Christian Tract Ministry
- Preschool Education
- Church Planting Primary
- Healthcare Programs
The Mission School of Hope, Cameroon, Africa: This mission reaches out to the Baka (Pygmy) Tribe of Cameroon and provides education and resources for the children and community. It is headed by Rev. Charles Sagay who visited our church in 2011 to share the heart-warming story of the Mission of Hope. Following the visit by Rev. Sagay, the church collected funds for shoes for every child in the Mission of Hope which they would receive at Christmas. The church also provided funds for a well to bring fresh clean water to the school and community. Please visit the website at www.missionschoolofhope.org.
Congregational Churches of the Philippines, Quezon City, Philippines: Through our partnership with the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches (NACCC), we have partnered with The Congregational Church of the Philippines to bring the love and ministry of Christ to the churches there. The mission is known as The Caring Community under the leadership of Rev. Ernanie and Awit Castillo and their son, Symphony John. The NACCC has planted over 30 churches with a goal of planting three news churches a year. These congregations are closely associated by a covenant of faith body, NACCC bridges unity and networking in its outreach to poor communities. Part-time pastors must work full-time at a secular job and carry on a part-time ministry to their congregations on weekends. Many of them cease to exist for lack of ministerial support. The NACCC strives to provide support to churches and pastors to keep the churches alive, reaching out to their communities in growth- efficient ways.
NACCC is on the frontline of ministry relief, livelihood assistance, and a childhood sponsorship program through Caring Community. $245 annually will provide for education and the basic needs for one child. Sponsors will receive a photograph and correspondence from their sponsored child. The program aims to help families in areas being reached by its church-planting ministry. In addition, the Caring Community supports pre-schools and kindergartens. Please visit the website of The Caring Community www.naccc.org/missions/nacccphilippines.aspx