October 2020
Dear All Saints Family -

This special issue of the Connect newsletter focuses on how God's grace has enabled us to share our many blessings with others and to participate in extending peace and reconciliation in His world. Celebrate with us what the Lord is doing for others near and far! Let Him change and soften our hearts at the same time. Do you have questions about one of the articles, ministries, or mission partners below? Want to know more about how you can help? Please reach out to me at shireen.david@allsaintschurch.net. I would love to talk to you!

Shireen David
Director of Mission and Outreach
SHARE the LOVE
Thank you for your continued generosity and support of our SHARE the LOVE outreach program, which provides fresh produce and meats to families in need living in SE DC. Through our partnership with Little Lights and Catholic Charities (via Blessed Sacrament) that began this spring, we have given 110 boxes of groceries – or approximately 880 pounds of meat (chicken, beef, and fish) and 1320 pounds of fruit and vegetables – to provide 3-4 meals each for 110 households. That’s a LOT of meals! 

Here is some encouraging feedback from Little Lights (LL) families:

“When I came to get lunch for my grandson, I was surprised by the amount of groceries that were in the box. It kept me from having to go into the store for a few days. I try to stay home as much as possible. So, getting the lunches [Little Lights provide bagged lunches for students during the week] was already a blessing but the grocery box was just perfect! For one of our meals, I grilled the fish on my George Foreman and glazed the carrots. It was quite tasty.” - LL grandmother, who is helping raise her two grandchildren

“The kids are home all day so if I do go to the grocery store, I have to take them all with me. So, when you called and said you had groceries, I ran down here quick. I didn't have to leave the building and got groceries for about two or three meals. I made home-fries with the potatoes and onions!  - LL mom 

“Thank you for the groceries! I cooked a special dinner of baked chicken, green beans, and corn. The kids ate it up!” – LL mom

Currently, All Saints is providing 25 boxes a month @$25/box. Here’s what will be given in each box in October:

5 pounds “Family pack” chicken leg quarters
1 pound ground beef
1 pound tilapia
1 pound pork chops
8 - 12 pounds fresh fruit and vegetables

Please click HERE if you would like to help SHARE the LOVE! 

Food Drop-off Also Continues
Another way you can SHARE the LOVE is by helping augment the fresh groceries (above) by directly donating non-perishable (non-expired) pantry goods such as pasta, pasta sauce, rice, mac n cheese, cooking oil, spices, etc. Please drop off groceries between 11 am – 1 pm M-F at the church’s front door. These items will be combined with the fresh groceries when they get delivered each month.  

Praise God for blessing us to enable us to bless others!
Listen, Learn, Love
In July, the first cohort from All Saints participated in Race Literacy 101, an 11-week Zoom class hosted by Little Lights, our mission partner in Southeast Washington, DC.  The second cohort is in the middle of this special curriculum, designed specifically for Christ-followers who want to better understand the history of racial ideology and racism and the implications for their faith.

Here’s what three faithful parishioners have to say about their experience:

Meredith McCain was thrilled to write a testimonial! She wants you to know that, at 71 years of age, it’s never too late to listen, learn, and love in the Name of Jesus.
““Mind blowing,” “challenging,” “I never knew that”… if these words catch your eye and stir your interest, you will be in for a learning experience that you will not forget when you enroll in the Little Lights course, Race Literacy 101. Such a course is especially relevant now with so many issues in the news, especially regarding race in America. This course will not only give you an in-depth historical perspective on race in America, it will also offer you a safe space where you can examine your personal feelings about race and how you relate to people of other races. You will also be supported in your Christian journey through the course’s Biblical focus on what Jesus Himself teaches us about how we are to relate to and grow in love towards all people of any race, whether strangers, or our neighbors, coworkers, friends, family and fellow Christians. I am just finishing this 11-week Zoom course and it has stretched me like few experiences I have had. I really encourage all who make All Saints their spiritual home, and seek insight and truth, whether young or old, to take advantage of this unique opportunity offered by Little Lights and enroll in this special learning experience.”

Kathleen Sheffield, says this about her experience: “Race Literacy 101 is a safe place to listen, ask, consider and learn more about racism and necessary change. The class material is challenging but supported with small group discussions that are provocative, grace filled, and inviting. The quality of the on-line format has been impressive, interactive and engaging. I have found a caring, diverse community and a venue to pray.” 

And Sharon D'Emidio has this to say: “I have almost finished the Little Lights Race Literacy 101, eleven-week course. All I can say is that I wish it wouldn't end. Each week I have a safe space where I can learn, listen, and discuss the many facets of racism in America. I have learned so much from this course about the history of systemic racism and I feel like we have just scratched the surface. So much of what we are learning and discussing should be required curriculum for all high school students in America. Perhaps after we all learn the complex truths of how racism came to be in the US, we can begin to dismantle it. I am so grateful for this course.”

Would you like to join the third cohort that kicks off on January 13, 2021? Registration is already open HERE.  
Our God is at Work in the Congo
Eating together in the Peace Center
Peace Building Workshop
Reverand Bisoke, our dear friend, mission partner, and faithful minister to the people of Bunia is serving in a part of the world where people live with great uncertainty about their literal survival. They face the possibility of death from their own people as civil war and ethnic cleansing rage all around them. Human Rights Watch describes the current situation like this:

The current violence stems from longstanding issues not addressed since the early 2000s, when tens of thousands of civilians died in countless massacres between 1999 and 2007. The control of land and natural resources between communities was a central issue then and today. Much of the bloodshed has its roots in competition over gold mines. Ituri’s mines have long been a cash cow for ex-rebels, politicians, and Congolese military officials who are involved in smuggling gold into neighboring countries.
 
The Peace Center
Some years ago, Rev. Bisoke established a base of operations in Bunia called the Peace Center. This is where he welcomes an almost continuous flow of displaced people who have lost everything due to the regional violence. They come to the Peace Center for safety, essentials like food and clothing, counseling, very meagre medical care, vocational training, and most definitely the Gospel along with peace and reconciliation teaching. Bisoke and his team are committed to providing aid to meet the physical and spiritual needs of those in his care. We are committed to joining him in that mission.
 
Skills Training
Currently, there are 187 ladies who are training to be seamstresses, and some are also learning to bake bread so that they can begin their own small businesses to support their families. Thanks to your generosity, Bisoke can provide a little bit of seed money and a few supplies to these ladies, in addition to purchasing food supplies for all the families at the Peace Center. On September 30, they graduated their first class of entrepreneurs – 128 ladies who are now proficient in sewing and baking – Praise God!

Ladies participating in training to build their entrepreneurial skills.
Forgiveness & Reconciliation
Another significant area of the ministry is Biblical teaching about forgiveness, making peace and reconciling with neighbors. As Rev. Bisoke explains it, “we train leaders because we know if we want to live together, we must have hearts to forgive so that we can be reconciled with those who have wronged us. Everyone is looking for peace, and peace without forgiveness is not complete. We must forgive to build peace. All displaced tribal leaders here in Bunia are from different cultures, language, regions, etc. We train them because once they have hearts for peace and forgiveness, they can help families who live under their leadership.” 

Bisoke told me about a gentlemen (see picture below) who made his way to the Peace Center from the south, having lost everything to the war and the rebels. When he arrived in Bunia, he realized that many from the Ituri tribe were at the Peace Center. Seeing them, he became filled with hatred and anger toward them since their tribe was responsible for his current state. He began plotting his revenge, going so far as buying a gun. But the forgiveness and peace-building teaching connected with his heart, and he felt compelled to confess, he returned the firearm, and asked the community for forgiveness. Praise the Lord!

Rev. Bisoke conducts regular Peace Building workshops with high attendance. The next Peace Building workshop is happening NOW (Oct. 1 – 3) and includes 60 tribal leaders, who fled along with their people from the north, and who will be trained and taught about the forgiveness that leads to peace. Pray that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, will fill their hearts and minds with His Spirit and bring healing to many!

Discipleship
Finally, and most importantly, the Peace Center offers discipleship training every Saturday, leading the way to sharing the Gospel with displaced communities, and also raising up young leaders at the Center who are eager to evangelize and share the message of forgiveness and peace in the Name of Jesus. Recently, twenty-five young people approached Rev. Bisoke to request additional training so that they could minister to the new members of their community, who by the grace of God will add to the 87 individuals that have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior over recent months!

Join us in praising the Lord with Rev. Bisoke for the miraculous work of reconciliation and peace that is growing among the various tribes that have found their way to the Peace Center. God is faithful even in the midst of strife. God is good in Bunia, just as He is here at home. Amen!
A Very Special Kingdom Moment
A man at the Bunia Peace Center publicly asks for forgiveness for the hatred in his heart for those in the same ethnic group as others who have caused him harm. What a humbling and beautiful picture of God's forgiveness to us!
Please join us in celebrating the good news of God working in our midst - ideas for the Connect newsletter are always welcome! You may submit possible topics, photos, or short (1 - 3 paragraph) articles to Communications Manager Teri Ballou. Deadline for the November issue is Friday, October 16.
How may we help?
We are here for you. If you need help, 
please call (301) 654-2488 or email info@allsaintschurch.net. All inquiries confidential.
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