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Monday24 July 2017

Dr. Gladys Mwiti speaks at WILLOW CREEK COMMUNITY CHURCH

Dr. Gladys Mwiti, Clinical Psychologist, Founder & CEO of Oasis Africa, was one of the speakers at the April 2017 Willow Creek’s Celebration of Hope three- week campaign. Among other speakers, she shared how God called her to be brave and step out as a Christian to use her Clinical Psychology skills to mobilize trauma care after critical incidents such as 1994 Rwanda genocide, August 1998 Nairobi USA Embassy bombing and other disasters. Her major question was: “What is the role of the Church in God’s mission of the healing of our Nations after disaster?”

Willow Creek Community Church (or simply Willow Creek Church) is an American non-denominational and multi-generational Evangelical Christianmegachurch located in the Chicago suburb of South Barrington, Illinois. It was founded on October 12, 1975, by Bill Hybels, who is currently the senior pastor. The church has three weekend services averaging 26,000 attendees, making it one of the largest churches in the United States.

WILLOW CREEK CARE MINISTRIES

As a Compassion & Justice ministry, the Care Center’s mission is:

Fighting poverty and injustice so that lives are transformed and Jesus is known.

With Core values of dignity, hope and transformation, the Willow Creek Care Center is passionate about providing immediate relief in times of crisis, as well as guiding people toward long-term solutions. From groceries and shelter to education, employment services, and legal consultation, the Care Center takes a holistic approach to serving people in need. Most of all, the Care Center offers an environment of love, compassion, and hope, where authentic relationships can flourish.

CELEBRATION OF HOPE

Celebration of Hope is Willow Creek’s annual global compassion campaign that seeks to bring awareness, engagement, and change through partnerships with churches across the world.

The church seeks to mobilize material and other support for African and other less developed nations across the world.

"Celebration of Hope is one of my favorite times of the year" Senior Pastor Bill Hybels says. "It allows for us to reflect and learn about crises going on all over the world and understand how powerful the local church is in making a difference. It's also an invitation for people to come together and act out our faith in Jesus Christ by supporting communities across the globe who so desperately need it."

 

Here is part of Dr. Gladys Mwiti’s message:

“I never imagined that God would lead me from a school classroom to the frontline of a tragedy like the Rwandan genocide. But what I have seen has taught me that God is calling the church to be brave and to engage in the most difficult situations in our world.

In Africa, and on every continent, the world desperately needs brave men and women. They need the church and people who will show God’s love.

I am convinced that we, the Church, have what the world needs.

Is God now trying to get the Church’s attention? What can we do? Friends, God is not going to suddenly appear from heaven and fix our world. He could, but he loves partnership with His Church. He has also made sure that the Church is uniquely equipped and empowered for this work.

We All CAN do something!

We have the Bible, the power of Prayer, the Gift of Encouragement, Human Resource, Finances and Counseling Skills

What would it look like for us to surrender our professions and our resources to God?  God calls each one of us to lay ourselves and our gifts to the altar and say, “Here I am Lord, send me!”

When my heart was broken for Rwanda, I wondered who God was going to call. Then I realized… he was calling me!

From my early days, this old song by Ross Minkler (1943) has been the cry of my heart:

“Lord, I would not stand alone,

When I come before your Throne,

Let me bring at least one soul, O Lord to Thee.

Here I give myself away –

Take me, use me, Lord I pray.

Let me lose my life and find it Lord in Thee!”

For some time now, Pastor Bill Hybels has been speaking to the Church on the reality that God speaks to Christians, calling us to become change agents in society. We need to listen carefully and heed the whisper when it comes. May we hear God’s whisper today and heed it.”

Pastor Harvey Carey and the Recycled Orchestra from Cateura, Paraguay

Apart from Dr. Gladys Mwiti, Willow Creek Celebration of Hope, Week One featured Harvey Carey, Senior Pastor of Citadel of Faith Church, Detroit. Harvey Carey is the Founder and Senior Pastor of Citadel of Faith Covenant Church in Detroit, Michigan, a dynamic speaker whose global ministry continues to change lives with the transforming truth of God’s word. As a Youth Pastor in Chicago, Carey developed a nationally emulated youth ministry model that has reached thousands of teens in inner-cities across the nation. Passionate about restoring the inner-city, Carey has partnered with several community organizations and nonprofits providing housing, social services and ministry to you and children in the city of Detroit. His inspiring leadership and vision for urban renewal unites people across boundaries of race, age, class and culture.

Then, there was the wonderful Recycled Orchestra from Cateura, Paraguay. The Recycled Orchestra of Cateura (Orquesta de Instrumentos Reciclados de Cateura in Spanish, is an orchestra composed of children from the shanty town of Cateura, Paraguay, who play musical instruments made from scrap materials collected from the adjacent landfill site. The orchestra has traveled internationally, inspiring people that hope can be found amidst the most adverse circumstances. The children will perform live during all three weekend services, April 22/23. Click here to watch a short clip about their group!

Willow Creek TV

Watch the first Celebration of Hope weekend’s program – April 22 and 23 at Willow Creek TV: https://willowcreek.tv/sermons/south-barrington/2017/04/hope-builds-hope/ as Pastor Harvey Carey, Dr. Gladys Mwiti, and the Recycled Orchestra from Paraguay kick off Celebration of Hope on the These three services on Saturday and Sunday commenced a powerful three-week program as the Church was mobilized to sign up and serve. 

During these three weeks, the Willow Creek church hosted 20,000 volunteers who filled one million seed packs to be sent to African families especially in some countries where hunger is related to lack of seeds to plant. This was the celebration indeed of the Hope that Christ gives every Christian to spread as his aroma in our hurting world.

Dr. Mwiti shares how she was struck by the holistic worship and ministry of Willow Creek that truly represents Founder Pastor Bill Hybel’s vision of an Acts 2 Church:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

   — Acts 2:42-47

Dr. Mwiti adds that there is very clear obedience and humility that follows this vision as evidenced by the Willow Creek Pastoral Team and staff, as well as ministry that is multifaceted, multidisciplinary, highly efficient, postmodern and effective. The team work and the call to worship and ministry as well as the deliberate turning away of believers from the common gospel of prosperity keeps the thousands who gather to worship not only receiving but also giving. And, God continues to bless those that give of themselves and their resources as He has promised: “The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself,” (Proverbs 11:25, NKJV).

 

Victor Omath

For the Communications Team

Oasis Africa, Nairobi, Kenya