Our God is Greater

Pain. It’s an ever present part of life for some people, maybe even for most. Physical pain, emotional pain, spiritual pain. There are all types and versions, and none of us are immune to its presence.

At One7, we see and experience pain on a regular, almost daily, basis. We work with youth from multiple origins, backgrounds, religious beliefs, and home situations. We are all broken, but understand that God loves us relentlessly, and His love doesn’t depend upon our condition. He often displays His unparalleled power through cracked and nearly shattered vessels. Sometimes the very definition of pain doesn’t entirely reveal itself until you’ve been at the lowest possible moment in your life. In that dark place where there is only one direction to go, and that direction is up.

Most of the people we interact with at One7 have, at one time or another, been in that place. Some have overcome great adversity to be in this country. They have been forced to sacrifice everything, except the clothes on their backs, to escape persecution and flee their homes and everything familiar. They have left behind brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, fathers, mothers, and grandparents. They have gone days, even weeks with no food. They have survived some of the worst refugee camps this world has to offer.

After enduring all of that, they are then thrust into a strange land where the food, culture, and language are nothing like they are accustomed to. Kids struggle in school. Parents struggle to find work. There are moments when they wonder if leaving their homeland was, in fact, the right decision. It’s a constant battle against racism, rejection, homelessness, and peer pressure. They search for hope in a place where it’s sometimes very difficult to find. They end up at our doorstep, and that gives us the opportunity to show and teach them that there is only one person Who can change their lives.

And He is God.

God is greater than the fear of walking into the unknown.

God is greater than the empty food cupboard in the kitchen.

God is greater than language barriers.

God is greater than the intense pain of losing a parent.

God is greater than all of that, because God. Is. Love. His unconditional love pierces through the darkest pain you could ever suffer, and fills your soul with His light. His love can break through the walls surrounding the street-hardened boy who has no father. His love can melt the jaded heart of a teenage girl who had to drop out of school to raise her baby. His love can heal the scars of past rejections and abuse.

At One7, we are dedicated to sharing the Gospel of Jesus to everyone we meet. We believe that as the body of Christ, we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus and love others unconditionally. Is it easy? Not even close. Is it worth it? You better believe it.

Please pray as we continue forward with this ministry despite the constant attacks from satan. He never stops trying to destroy what God is doing here in Charlotte, but we are confident that our God is greater.

 

Make sure to follow One7 on Twitter and/or Facebook by clicking on the appropriate link to the right. Thanks!

Have a blessed day.

Advertisements

Soccer Weekend (9/2013)

What a weekend. We were scheduled to play four games, but one was cancelled at the last minute. The Fall season has kicked into gear, and we have several different teams that will be taking the fields.

1235330_10201470251910732_1130443658_nOn Saturday, our U13’s played a great game and ended up walking away with a 9-0 victory. While it’s always great to get a win, our main focus is being examples for Jesucristo on and off the field. We demonstrate a passion for the game of soccer, but also excellence in our sportsmanship. We constantly receive letters and messages from parents of other teams talking about how amazed they are by our players.

1290033_10151832234016030_557904833_n

We had two games on Sunday. Our U11 team, which consists mainly of players who are starting to learn the game, ended up in a 6-6 tie. That is a huge accomplishment for this team. They played with real heart out on the field. We are expecting great progress from this team during the season.

Not only are they trying to master the skills of passing, dribbling, and shooting, they are also learning how to unite as one team and play together. Most play in their apartment complexes where it’s pretty much every person for themselves. We teach them to trust the other members of the team and have confidence in each other.

Also on Sunday, we had a team play at Strikers. It isn’t league competition like Charlotte United or US Club, but it gives the youth that aren’t on a league team the chance to play and gain experience. We took six girls and one boy to play and came out on top with a 10-4 win. After the game, one of our strongest leaders, Hyuien, shared about One7 and how we don’t play soccer for ourselves, but for God and we glorify Him in everything we do, win or lose.

1239645_10151824900958537_738005894_n

Make sure to follow One7 on Twitter and/or Facebook by clicking on the appropriate link to the right. Thanks!

Have a blessed day.

Hope For Our Community

Our city is full of homeless refugees in search of shelter, security, and love. One7 owns a complex with fourteen apartments where we provide housing for families in transition. We give them a place to live, food to eat, and clothing. We currently have 5 families and a total of 36 children living with us. The majority of the children were homeless and now live with members of our One7 staff here on site.

One7-family-004a-copy-1024x827

We help them with basic needs for survival, but the support doesn’t end there. We assist them with scheduling doctor appointments and provide the necessary transportation. We help set the children up in school and connect them with counselors. We stay in constant communication with teachers regarding student’s grades and progress in class. We have the unique opportunity to bring families in from all over the world to live together in unity.

Family-apts-8-20-004aWe offer an ESL class every Saturday morning for parents of the many kids we work with. While the children are brought up to speed with the English language once they start attending school, the parents are almost left behind and struggle to adapt. Not only does this give us an opportunity to educate, but also to build strong relationships with each family.

Refugees come into this country with nothing but the clothes on their backs. We offer safety, peace of mind, and hope.

Be the Hands and Feet

At One7, we hold a strong belief in the act of serving the community. It’s just a natural overflow of honoring God and loving others more than ourselves. Our ministry would fail if we kept company with just those whom we are the most comfortable around, hung out at the One7 apartments, and played soccer all day long. In our desire, and continuing journey, to be more like Christ, we feel a pressing urge to do anything and everything we can to fulfill the needs of those who are lost and hurting.

photo 1-3In the recent months, God has been blessing One7 with donations of food almost every day. Instead of keeping it all to ourselves, we believe God is leading us into the community, to other apartment complexes in the area, and directing us to give it away. We know the more we share with others, the more God will continue to bless us.

Last week, we sent a group over to some apartments that house many of our One7 kids and their families. They stopped by a local market and picked up packs of chicken, bags of rice, and plenty of beans. We added all of that to the donations we had already received. The families began to pour out of their apartments when they realized we had arrived.

photo 3-3We loaded the food onto the back of our trailer and served it right from there. For some, the meal we provide throughout the week at One7, might be the only one they eat for an entire day. It’s such a privilege and blessing for us when we get the opportunity to deliver food directly to where they live.

Romans 12:10 says “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” There is nothing more fulfilling than serving others. When the faces of those whom are hurting light up in a brilliant smile, it warms the heart in ways that the things of this world are incapable of accomplishing. It’s all about being the hands and feet of Jesus.

We dont stop at presenting items that can be seen with the eyes like food, clothing, and shelter. We also provide the hope that flows from a loving and glorious Savior. We share the Gospel, and the story of how God sent His only Son to endure the brutality of being crucified on a tree.

It’s this message of eternal hope in Jesus that will fill them more than food or material possessions ever could.

 

Make sure to follow One7 on Twitter and/or Facebook by clicking on the appropriate link to the right. Thanks!

Have a blessed day.

Doe River Gorge (Summer 2013)

Nestled deep in the mountains of East Tennessee, a place of unparallelled peace and tranquility exists where youth from all over the country go to be physically and spiritually challenged. Doe River Gorge has been changing lives since it’s inception in 1987. It started with just small group retreats and has grown into week long camps with hundreds of youth in attendance. One7 has been blessed with the opportunity to attend these camps over the last several years.

This year, we were once again invited, but with an added bonus. We were allowed to take 61 kids, which is more than we have ever taken before.

The camp offers a multitude of team building and strenuous physical events that challenge even the most fearless. Campers have the chance to scale towering cliffs, rappel sheer rock walls, tube whitewater rapids, brave the high challenge course, catch a trapeze, or engage in a battle of paintball. Doe River Gorge also owns a huge lake where participants can get catapulted by the blob, play an intense game of water basketball, or soak up some rays on the white-sand beach.

It’s a week filled with fellowship, fun, music, exercise, great teaching, and new friends. There’s just something so deeply moving about being tucked away in a secluded area where it feels as if God himself is smiling down at the sound of worship, laughter, and often times, tears of revival. Our kids are genuinely touched by all they see and experience during a week of camp. Friendships are re-kindled, hearts are once more softened, and God is glorified in every event.

Doe River Gorge is truly a blessing to One7 and all of our staff and kids. We are so thankful to have the opportunity they provide for us. Please take a moment and like their Facebook page. Doe Rive Gorge

Here are some pictures from their week of adventure.

 

Make sure to follow One7 on Twitter and/or Facebook by clicking on the appropriate link to the right. Thanks!

Have a blessed day.

AC Milan Cup Tournament (7/13)

Two of our One7 teams had a tournament just outside Orlando, the AC Milan Cup. Our U18 and U12 teams arrived in Florida on Friday, but when they got to where the tournament was being held, they were told the games were cancelled for Friday night. That meant one of our teams would have to play 3 games on Saturday.

Saying it was hot down there is the understatement of the century. It was 90, but the heat index said it felt like 100. Humidity was at 96% pretty much the entire time. Playing a 90 minute soccer game is hard in itself. Having to play in those conditions makes it even more difficult. Our U12 team lost 2 and won their last game on Saturday. Our U18 won their first game, but lost the second one. During the first game, our U18 goal keeper was injured and had to have 7 staples put into his head between games. He played through the second game with it bandaged up.

As He always does, God provided everything we needed during the entire trip. A church opened up their youth building and allowed both of our teams to sleep there. When we left Charlotte, housing was the only thing guaranteed. We knew God would provide food and gas for us. He sent us some angels who went out of their way to get drinks, snacks, and food for our players. The games on Saturday were covered, but they also made a late night delivery of Gatorade for the games on Sunday. Due to storms, only two games were played on Sunday and the tournament was cancelled.

Some might say it was a waste of time for us to travel that far and the tournament end with no standings. They would be wrong. We met and played against international teams from Italy, Dutch Islands, and Columbia. We had the opportunity to share about God and One7 to people we would never have a chance to play against if it wasn’t for this tournament. Here are a couple of Facebook posts from this weekend:

“One7 u-12 played an EPIC and LEGENDARY game against a top team from Colombia. We were losing 3-1 and had a LEGENDARY comeback 3-3 final score. Our guys played so great the parents came and ask me to send them across the field so that the other teams and families would cheer and clap and shake their hands… God is awesome!!!!!”

“Our One7 teams played through extreme heat and humidity yesterday in the AC Milan tournament near Orlando. U12’s lost two games and won their third. U18 split their two games with one win and one loss. U18 goalie, Francisco, got injured in the first game and had to get seven staples in his head right before game 2. He played through it. We’ve seen God show up and provide for our needs during the course of this tournament. We will finish today strong and do it all for Jesucristo.”

Even though the tournament was eventually cancelled and the standings were not completed, God used our guys to change people’s lives. Here are two Facebook posts from the ladies who provided food, snacks, and drinks:

“What a blessing to be a part of “One 7” Ministries. These amazing young men have gone through so many difficulties and challenges in their young lives, but God has blessed them and carried them through faith by faith. They came to Orlando by Faith and God provided in so many ways. We are so thankful for the opportunity to meet them. Please pray for them as they head back to beautiful Charlotte, NC. To all my friends up there check out this ministry. These young men and their leaders are truly amazing!!”

“God takes care of his faithful children. One7 ministry are Gods faithful children who began with one man, a soccer ball, a bible and a passion to unite children from many different cultures and backgrounds. They have since learned that they don’t need to live divided or alone. Now they share their passion for soccer and Jesus Christ. It’s a beautiful thing! I’m praying that God continues to bless the one7 family.”

Here are some pictures:

Everyone Has a Story. Meet Soli

At One7, our goal is to raise up a generation of Jeremiah’s who will go out into the world and share the Gospel of Christ. The beauty of grace is that God can use an imperfect vessel to illustrate His ultimate perfection. The youth of One7 would be the first to tell you that they are not perfect. They make mistakes. They struggle. They fall. The good news is that they get back up and keep moving forward because, when they are weak, God is powerful.

SoliMeet Soli. She is from Ethiopia and started attending the One7 Academy this year. She is one of five children living here in the US. Like most refugee families, they escaped their country hoping to make a better life here in America. While on many levels, they do indeed have it much better than in the past, but they still face hunger, pain, and rejection.

Here is her story…

My name is Soli, and I am from Ethiopia. I came to the United States when I was eight years old. I have two sisters and two brothers. We all grew up without a father. When we first came to America, life was very hard because we didn’t know how to speak English. All of us lived in a two bedroom apartment. It was so small and not enough room for us to live. We didn’t have anything in our apartment, not even furniture. My mother had to work to support us and often times left just us kids alone at home. I was the oldest child, but even at such a young age, I was forced to take care of my brothers and sisters.

Life was so difficult at times that my mother tried to make us all drink bathroom cleaners so we would die. She tried to make me drink it first, but when I opened the bottle, I knew it was something that we shouldn’t drink. At one time, my mother lost her food stamps and was it was so hard to get food. My cousins would give us food so we wouldn’t go hungry.

Before we moved to America, it was very hard for my mother to take care of us. We were so poor that she had to carry two of the kids around in a book bag. We lived in a refugee camp in Ethiopia for several years. Life inside the refugee camp was horrible. So many people died. There was no hope, only pain and devastation. I didn’t think we were ever going to make it out alive. School was also very hard. I didn’t like it at all, but my mom would beat me if I didn’t go. If we were late to class, the teacher would make us get on our knees and hold up heavy rocks for several minutes. There would also hit us with rulers. Some kids were beaten so severely that they died right there in the classroom.

Sometimes, we wouldn’t leave the house because we were afraid that people were going to try and kill us. They would also do witchcraft and put curses on us. One time when my mom was pregnant, someone put a curse on her, and she lost the baby.

My mother dropped out of school when she was in fifth grade and still doesn’t know how to speak English very well. I have to try and translate for her when we read the mail. It’s very hard for me. She pushed me so hard to get my schoolwork done because she doesn’t want me to drop out like she did.

Recently, my mom got really sick and the doctor didn’t know what was wrong with her. She was becoming very stressed which caused me to lose focus on my schoolwork. She went back to the doctors many times before they finally realized she was five months pregnant. My brother was facing the wrong way inside, and they were unable to turn him. Because of that, my mom had to have a C section. My new brother has a heart murmur, and my mom wanted to sell him because he didn’t come out perfect.

Life is better now, but still so hard. This is my first year at the One7 Academy and I am doing well. I look back and remember how much worse life was in the refugee camp, and I thank God for allowing us to live in America.

Visit One7.org