Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Whirlwind

Yesterday I sepnt three hours with Rev. Tim Cummins, Director of Whirlwind Missions. Tomorrow I'll tell you about the day and share a few other news items, but today let me just share the details about Whirlwind. The following is my revised version of his literature, telling the story of the great work they do:

Our Ministry's Kingdom Value

Whirlwind Missions is reaching the world for Christ one person at a time. We have a golden opportunity to “Take the Church to the People” right here in Atlanta and literally reach the whole world! Our goal is to impact the burgeoning immigrant population with the life changing message of Jesus Christ. We accomplish that through operating onsite missions, spreading the Gospel while meeting the pressing needs of apartment residents.

Our Beneficiaries

The international population is the fastest growing demographic in America; metro Atlanta is a symbol of that growth. Today our population exceeds 5 million people, many of whom are immigrants arriving to the USA eager to better their lives. Most of the world’s 3,000 unreached demographic groups are represented in our area. Within five miles of the 285/85 Interchange is the International Village, home to residents from over 145 different countries and where more than 750 different languages are spoken! Hundreds of apartment complexes are located here, providing housing to these diverse residents. Whether they come from a Buddhist, Muslim or Catholic background, they have shown themselves to be open to the Gospel. Many of the people we work with eventually return to their native countries and introduce their extended families to Christ!

Their Needs

According to the North American Mission Board, over 97% of apartment residents are unchurched. There are at least 200,000 Latinos living in Atlanta. They arrive in this country unable to speak the language and adequately care for their families. Their children have a particularly difficult time in school because their parents cannot help them with homework. Many men find themselves taken advantage of by unscrupulous businessmen who prey on their language barrier and their fears. Multiple families often live together in a single apartment to share the cost of rent. Even then they frequently have difficulty paying rent and utilities. These and other emotional burdens often result in crime and substance abuse. Their spiritual needs are so great and yet they find little comfort in the traditions of their native church.

Our Objectives

The goal of Whirlwind Missions is to “Take the Church to the People.” Our ministry reaches people with the Gospel and helps them succeed in this country. We do this through caring, personal relationships with residents, providing after school mentoring for children and English as Second Language classes for adults. These services provide a bridge to lead them into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Both crime and dropout rates have reduced in apartment complexes where a mission has been established.

Our Ministry's Solution

At Whirlwind Missions, we make it a priority to establish missions directly within the community, enabling greater comfort and trust, resulting in a higher percentage of the community coming in contact with missionaries. We host regular Outreach Events in an effort to reach the entire community, serving food, family fun and sharing the Gospel at the same time. We are able to perform these ministries thanks to the hundreds of volunteers coming to us from local evangelical churches. These churches also provide services to the community, picking up trash, painting over graffiti and planting gardens. Our combined work in the community builds relationships with community leaders, business owners and local officials, which in turn helps expand our ministry.

Life Transformations

With a forty-percent high school dropout rate in Georgia, one of our priorities is to help children stay in school. With the help of our ministry more students are finishing their education and going on to college; we are steering them away from crime and unemployment and toward a meaningful job. Our mentoring programs help the whole child by focusing on their spiritual needs as well, resulting in a better quality of life in the home.

Many of the families deal with domestic violence. In such cases we counsel families with the goal of keeping them together, and work with the local ethnic churches to disciple the new believers on this important matter. As we share in people’s lives through our work, we help them understand the Gospel and God’s plan for marriages and families.

Our Measurable Impact

More than one thousand people have accepted the Lord since our ministry began in 2001. Over two hundred people did so in 2008 alone. We regularly serve in thirty-two apartment communities, and as many as fifty during the summer. In December, 2008, we served food to more than 540 families and evangelized in seventy apartment complexes! Many of the young men and women we have worked with for years have graduated from high school and are now attending college. Mobilized 3,400 volunteers from churches across the country, our ministry is the largest of its kind and is considered the model for international apartment work in the United States.

Now that's a great ministry, would you agree?

1 comment:

Ginny said...

That is a great ministry! I'm so happy that you're a part of it!