Build a Home with Habitat for Humanity!

Building a Legacy

You can make a difference in someone’s life. With every volunteer, someone gets closer to having somewhere to call home. Whether you have never picked up a hammer before or you’ve built many houses, we would love to have you spend a Saturday with us! 

Our current build is taking place at 1404 Belvedere St., Kokomo, IN, 46902. We typically start building around 8:30 AM and end by 4:30 PM. Lunch is provided through our wonderful donors in Howard County.

We encourage potential volunteers to please sign-up online (via the link below). This helps us to have an idea of how many to expect for lunch and also for the type of work we might try to get done on a given work day. 
Click here to access the sign-up for the house build at 1404 Belvedere.

For more information, see habitatkokomo.com.

Tired of Renting?

Mortgage payments are often less than current rent. The next Habitat for Humanity Information Meetings will be: 

  • 10AM12PM | Saturday, September 14
  • 6PM8PM | Wednesday, September 18

Both meetings will be held in the Basement Conference Room at the Kokomo Public Library (220 N. Union St., Kokomo).

This is for people interested in becoming homeowners. This is the first step in becoming a part of the Habitat Homeownership Program.   

The essential criteria for becoming a Habitat Partner Family include:

  • Need for adequate shelter
  • Ability to pay for the Habitat home
  • Willingness to partner and participate with building your home  
  • We are looking for low-income working families with a gross monthly income of at least $1,400 per month. (Detailed income charts can be found at habitatkokomo.com.)

Some of the benefits of partnering with Habitat for Humanity include:

  • Cost of home below appraised value
  • Input into home design and interior choices
  • Support/advocacy program

Applications will be handed out at the meeting. No RSVP needed. For more information call Katie at (765) 452-2185. 

Welcome to Narrow Gate Horse Ranch

By Jessica Rolph
Reprinted from a March 19, 2019 article from First Farmer’s Bank and Trust.

The first things you notice when you get to Narrow Gate Ranch are horses. The large barn is surrounded by gently rolling acres. The horses graze in small groups, some galloping a few yards as the mood takes them, most still and watchful. It’s not far from downtown Kokomo, but the flowing land and calm presence of the horses leaves you feeling far from anything you’d find in the city. It’s a peaceful scene, and one that Susan Zody appreciates.

For the past few years, Susan has been running the Narrow Gate Horse Ranch. Susan wasn’t familiar with horses when she started on this journey. She had been searching for a way to get the kids to continue coming and engaging with a youth outreach program where she volunteered, and remembered an article she’d read about a therapy horse ranch. After raising the funds through donations and researching therapy ranches, Susan was able to take a group to a nearby facility. The funds continued to roll in, and Susan started seeing the impact the visits were making on some of the kids in the program. Grades improved. Behavior improved. The kids started making better decisions. She was impressed, and committed to continue providing this to the children.

“They come here really, to build a relationship with a horse,” says Susan about the draw for the youth she works with at the ranch. These young people have sometimes suffered abuse and neglect, and an adult seeking to mentor these individuals will often face an uphill battle. But a horse, patient and calm and not demanding, can bridge that divide.

As donations continued to come in, Susan had to ask herself if there was more that she could do. Was it just the small group of children that she currently worked with that were meant to benefit? Could something else be done? It was a crossroads for Susan. She knew the need was greater than what could be met by visiting a horse ranch an hour way. She could see the improvements, but her kids, and the kids she knew needed connection in the community, would benefit from a slightly different approach. One that focused on building relationships and making better decisions, and ultimately, one that had its foundation in faith.

This was where Susan found herself in 2016 when she invited a group of people from the community to a discussion. Would the community support an organization like what she envisioned? Were the resources there to make it successful? Her plans were met with enthusiasm and support, and a board was formed. In a short three years, Narrow Gate Horse Ranch has been established and has weekly classes.

Narrow Gate’s target audience is at-risk youth in the community. In Howard County, Indiana alone, over 4,000 children live at or below the poverty level. At the Ranch, these children are able to grow their confidence, leadership skills, and communication skills.

“I want these kids to gain some confidence and to know that if they do things correctly, there will be a good ending.”

Scott MacDonald

When we visited Susan at the ranch, we also met Scott MacDonald, the equine specialist at the Ranch, and Kelsey and Autumn, two sisters who volunteer. Together, Susan and Scott shared stories that more often than not brought tears to the eyes of both speaker and listeners. The horses at Narrow Gate have faced their own challenges, much like the youth that works with them. The kids relate to the horses. They see their own struggles, and they work together to overcome challenges. It’s a rewarding experience for everyone involved, and one the team at Narrow Gate never tires of.

It was an honor to meet with Susan and Scott at Narrow Gate Horse Ranch, to be introduced to the horses, and to meet some of the youth benefitting from this wonderful operation.

I’m Afraid Not

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” — Ryan O’Neal, Love Story, 1970

“That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard,” — Ryan O’Neal, What’s Up Doc? 1972

We Baby Boomers and The Greatest Generation before us suffered the whiplash of sudden cultural self-awareness in the 1960s followed by the grinding self-indulgence of the “Me Decade” in the 1970s.  Christianity could barely catch its breath.

Not that I was a Christian at that point.  Navigating my middle-teen years and the bounty of intelligence, introspection, and worldly wisdom (cough, cough) I was to gain through college and into my early 20s and subsequent career, I had drifted completely away from my religious youth as an altar boy in the traditional Episcopal Church.

No, I didn’t know Jesus, but Father Cooper was a wonderful and kind man, and I knew the old communion service by heart.  It wasn’t until 30 years later that I came to understand and appreciate the beauty and depth of those words I could recite at 14.

The difference later was that I came to know Jesus, the Bible, and met so many Christians who were everything I didn’t think they’d be.  They were smart, kind, creative, educated, funny, generous, prosperous in their faith, highly productive in their vocations, and unwavering in their belief that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the living God, trusting Him as their Lord and Savior.  I learned all that in a church that reads the Bible.

None of that last paragraph would have made any sense to me prior to 2001, at age 47, when I very suddenly “got it.” Jesus made sense and the church came alive.  Most importantly, from an operational standpoint, the Bible mysteriously, magically, wonderfully before my eyes turned from opaque gibberish into utter clarity.  I saw God’s person, Jesus’s truth, humanity’s great fall but great opportunity, and the excitement, adventure, and joy of so much of life making an eternal kind of sense I had never seen before.  Why, even my childhood church liturgy morphed into a new creation of wonder.

All these lights coming on comprised the greatest gift imaginable.  They provided to me a life-changing, mind-altering, priority-shifting, and truth-testing reboot not just of worldview but of hope (eternal), understanding (divine), and love (other-directed).

So, here’s my point, which despite the preceding autobiography is really nothing about me.  It is everything about why and how we are encouraged to go to church, be in Christ, seek comfort and wisdom in the Holy Spirit, discern God, and consume our hearts with the grace, peace, trust, and compassion of Jesus.  What I’m saying is:

Fear and guilt can never build a loving relationship; trust and responsibility do. A self-focused life will imagine that “being loved” means “doing whatever I want.”  My own glory requires, “I gotta be me!”  Ergo, one never has to say, “I’m sorry.” Rubbish.

A worldly, liberal church going overboard to make your magnificent “You!” front-and-center relevant misses the key message of Christ that this life is about God’s glory more than mine or yours. And a church holding everyone’s sin and stumbles in constant reproach for the “price Jesus paid” and the “punishment we deserve” is preaching worldly transaction and retribution instead of extolling God’s divine grace in Jesus.

That’s when freedom and love die at the altar of control by fear and guilt.  Amen.

Satan applauds self-focus because it creates comparison, envy, and division.  Loving relationships grow amid mercy, encouragement, and trust, not self-obsession.

Still think it is all about you?  Sorry… I’m afraid not.

Walters (rlwcom@aol.com) is not afraid of God; he is thankful God is there. For more of Walters’ columns, see commonchristianity.blogspot.com. For his books, see www.lulu.com/spotlight/CommonChristianity.

A Reminder to Remember

I am beginning to identify with Jeremiah, the one called “the weeping prophet.” Not that I consider myself a prophet, but I am one who weeps.  
Each time my fingers tap out the words to send from my heart to yours, this thought runs through my brain, “Maybe I should write something that has a lighter feel.” And each time God whispers to my ear that there are so many people hurting, struggling, wounded, and uncertain about the future. I count myself one of the many.

We truly want to finish well the race that is set before us. But in the spirit of authenticity, sometimes I find my faith teetering on the fence of doubt. 

Perhaps the days of lightheartedness will come soon. I hope so. 

But for now, we are called to-

lock arms 
hold one another up 
offer grace when one stumbles
lift each other up
and take one more step in this heavenly race.


We are to remember that this world truly is not our permanent home (Hebrews 13:14). There is a glorious place waiting for us. But until we stand face to face with Christ in all of His glory, we must remember we are ambassadors of His kingdom (2 Corinthians 5:20-21). We are called to bring what’s up there down here in our day to day lives. We are reflectors of grace, set apart for a greater purpose.

We are called to know Him and the power of His resurrection as well as the fellowship of His suffering (Philippians 3:10). Confession time. We have all seen that crazed football fan. The one who paints his/her face with the team colors and roars with every advancement of the ball down the field then jumps up punching the air with his/her giant sponge hand when the team scores.  That’s me when I hear the first part of this verse, “the power of His resurrection.” YES!!! Go, God! That’s what I want to see, the resurrection power. 

As I reflect on this verse in light of so many who find themselves in life’s hard places, there is a clearer message coming into view. There can be no resurrection power without death first. Wow! I never saw that before. 

Maybe today you are experiencing a death of sorts–the death of a dream, a job, a relationship, health, or expectation. My friend, these are the places where His resurrection power breathes life into dry bones. 

Every victory won was first a battle fought.
Each body cured, was first a disease diagnosed.
All mountain top views were reached by trekking the valley.


This week’s “Hope for the Journey” is less organized in thought than I am comfortable with.  However, it seemed fitting to take a step back and remember some truths about who we are and who we are called to be. Suffering never negates the greater purposes of God or our identity in Him. 
 

Stand strong, dear one. Hold tight to His promises. Live with your eyes wide open to…

His divine peace
His miraculous ways
His overwhelming joy
His unexplainable presence
His extravagant love
His wondrous grace


This is our God!
Remember Him and live in awe.

Until next time, let’s find hope in the journey,
Evelyn

Hi There! My name is Evelyn. I am a lover of all things family, faith and Fall. So grateful that you found your way here. The chaos of life can leave us feeling a bit worn around the edges. Sometimes a little ray of hope is all we need to provide courage for the next step in our journey. So come on in, take a deep breath. My prayer is that in this space, you will be able to grab hold of hope. For more of Evelyn’s columns, see her blog Hope for the Journey.

Truth at Work 2019 Conference

Friday, November 8th | 8AM-1PM
Northview Church (12900 Hazel Dell Parkway, Carmel)

TRANSFORM THE MARKETPLACE

This annual conference cultivates, encourages, and inspires leaders and those who desire to serve the Lord in the marketplace. If you want your work to have eternal significance, even if it means going against cultural norms, come, network with likeminded leaders, and learn from national experts on how to live out your faith so you can impact the marketplace for Christ.

Join thousands of other Christians in business for a powerful one-day event designed to equip and inspire you.

SPEAKERS

WHAT TO EXPECT

A day together that will equip and fortify you through learning how to become a transformational leader. This type of leader affects change in many ways, including:

  • Demonstrating Generosity
  • Building a Championship Culture
  • Creating a Vision
  • Disrupting Industries & Traditions
  • Leading through Service
  • Influencing Society

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from some of America’s top thought leaders on how to transform your leadership, business, and in turn, society.

Who should attend?

WHO SHOULD ATTEND

Business Owners

Discover best practices, practical resources and a local community to help leverage your company as a platform for Christian ministry

Managers & Executives

Learn practical ways to live out your faith and model Christ-like servant leadership to your team and co-workers

Emerging Leaders

Learn how to build your career on proven biblical principles so your work brings honor and glory to the Lord

Pastors & Church Leaders

Equip, encourage, and empower marketplace leaders in your church to impact their workplace for Christ

For anyone wanting to integrate their faith and work, learn what God’s Word says about the integration of faith and work and how you can begin to do so right where you are.

For more information, see the Truth at Work website. To order tickets, visit the itickets event site.

Writers Needed to Share the Story of God’s Work

We are seeking talented writers to help tell the story of Bible translation to churches around the world. The work that God is doing, and the role that the local church can serve in that work, is a powerful message that we need to share.

We are turning the testimonies of hearts changed by God’s Word and accounts of how churches are leading the process of Bible translation for their communities into stories that are easy to translate and understand. Stories are a powerful way to engage new national Bible translators. These stories will be broadcast to remote people groups and those living in persecuted areas. Your stories can help reach people who have never heard God’s Word in their own language!

If you have a professional writing background and are willing to contribute a few hours per week, then we need your help. Experience with or knowledge of our programs is a plus. If you do not have previous Wycliffe Associates experience, we will provide training.

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about this storytelling opportunity, please see the Wycliffe website for more information, email us, or call Jennifer Cunneen toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673). Jennifer will provide you with more details about this project. See the

Thank you for praying and sharing this opportunity within your circles of influence to help us involve more people in Bible translation.

Until the task is done,
Bruce

Saturday Night with the Rock

Saturday, August 10, 2019 | 6:00PM
Cross America (840 Daniel Dr., Kokomo)

Youth groups and young adults groups are invited to a night of worship, praise and great speakers on Saturday, August 10th. This FREE event is the first time The Rock has held their event outside of Tipton. They are excited to bring this worship opportunity to Kokomo and to Cross America.

Our prayer is that you will encounter God’s unconditional love for you as you come into a place where the Spirit of the Lord is able and willing to rescue you where you are no matter how impossible it may seem. We pray that not only do you experience the Holy Spirit’s presence, but that you will make the exchange from your old self to your new self in Christ. We want to go with you on this journey and know that you will  be set free and set a blaze with passion for God by the power of Jesus as you let Him invade your life. 

The Rock

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners.” (Luke 4:18)

Overcoming PTSD

9AM—6PM, Saturday, July 27, 2019
Criterion Water Labs, LLC (329 E. Firmin St., Kokomo)

Hey Overcomer!

Have you ever thought about why we call you an Overcomer? Well, it simply means there is something to overcome. Surely this is spiritual but there are also natural or physical things to overcome as well. It could be a loss of a hope or dream, loss of a loved one, or even a job. But it doesn’t have to be a loss at all. It could have to do with something else that holds your attention and keeps you from feeling free to thrive moving forward.

Stressful events are something that many people face but not everyone that experiences stressful events will get Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. I want to help you understand why that is.

It is not something you plan for, nor is it something you can write steps 1, 2, and 3 of how to get through it during the difficult moments. But, we have created a panel to discuss the Biblical principles to a person’s journey before, during and after stressful events of life.

We have used biblical, scientific and psychiatric studies to create this amazing conference and we invite you to join us online as we have this panel discussion. We believe you can overcome all traumatic stresses with God’s Word. Come and join us for this one day dynamic discussion and receive a new level of understanding for your journey of overcoming.

We want everyone well holding to this standard of all we do…

“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” 3 John 1:2

God wants you to be happy, well, sane and healthy. And so do I!

Would you join me online for this one-day discussion panel on Overcoming PTSD? This will not only help you if you are stuck in the past of a traumatic event but it can also help you NOT be affected by PTSD in the future.

God bless you,
Dr. Henry W. Wright
Be in Health
beinhealth.com/what-is-ptsd
You can also watch this conference at www.youtube.com/beinhealth

2019 Living Alternatives Banquet

7PM, Tuesday, September 24th
Kokomo First Church of the Nazarene (2734 S. Washington St., Kokomo)
Special Guest Jennifer O’Neil

Be sure to mark your calendars and plan to attend! We will send you more information as the time nears.

For more information or to help sponsor the banquet by becoming an underwriter, contact the Pregnancy Resource Center:

hopeforafuture.com
kokomo@hopeforafuture.com
(765) 454-5566
202 1/2 E. Lincoln Rd.
Kokomo, IN 46902

Welcoming Two New Authors!

We are very happy to welcome two new authors to Afikomag!

Evelyn Sherwood is a pastor’s wife in Kokomo, Indiana. Her blog, Joy for the Journey, offers encouragement in your walk with Jesus. In her own words:

I am a lover of all things family, faith and Fall. So grateful that you found your way here. The chaos of life can leave us feeling a bit worn around the edges. Sometimes a little ray of hope is all we need to provide courage for the next step in our journey. So come on in, take a deep breath. My prayer is that in this space, you will be able to grab hold of hope.

Evelyn

Her most recent post is Embrace the Pleasure of Delight.

Bob Walters is a former sportswriter and public relations executive who became a baptized believer in Christ in the fall of 2001. He writes, edits, and serves in the Christian community. From 2006-2015 his “In Spirit” column was published in the north metro Indianapolis, Ind., “Current” newspapers in Carmel, Westfield, Noblesville and Fishers (circulation: approx. 100,000 homes). Upon coming to Christ in his late 40s, Walters became friends with longtime Christian minister Russ Blowers (1924-2007), who mentored Bob’s faith and Christian writing. Walters is a member of East 91st Street Christian Church, Indianapolis, where he is active in several ministries and coordinates a Wednesday night study taught by retired Cambridge theology lecturer Dr. George Bebawi. Born in Michigan, Walters grew up in Kokomo, IN, and went to Franklin College of Indiana (’76). He is married to Pam and is dad to sons Eric and John.

Bob Walters’ most recent columns are “Who Asked You?” Part 1 and Part 2.

For more of Walters’ columns, see commonchristianity.blogspot.com. For his books, see www.lulu.com/spotlight/CommonChristianity