Presence Projects: by Bryan Long

One of our main OUTWARD focuses here at Randall is "Presence." Jesus' final instruction was to bear witness in the circles you find yourself (Acts 1:8). This isn't a program or initiative - it's a way of life. Being a witness isn't an event that we accomplish, pat ourselves on the back and go home. God calls His people to bear witness everywhere we go. However, Presence can be difficult to promote because it's not always something you see. You can't always point to a gathering or call the newspaper to cover it. It takes intentionality to keep asking: "What does it look like to be a missionary cleverly disguised as a good neighbor, co-worker, citizen and friend?"

This question is even more challenging right now. How can we be present when we can't be present? How can we keep bearing witness to Jesus in word & deed? In this difficult time, there is a natural tendency towards self-interest, preservation and accumulation. But as we saw in Philippians 2, we are to imitate Christ who took on the very nature of a servant and humbled Himself for the sake of the world. When we do this, people see what Jesus is really like. What an opportunity to show the world a tangible picture of Christ!
Each week we want to highlight a "Presence Project" that gives an idea or opportunity to engage the community. This week, a number of people from the church are using their crafting skills to make masks for under resourced medical facilities. So far 50 masks have been made and are heading out today to outfit a floor of nurses at ECMC who are currently serving COVID-19 patients with nothing. Strangers from the VA hospital, Suburban and various nursing homes are also reaching out. Even our neighbors across the street, Gateway Longview, have accepted masks from us. Through this, one of our members met a nurse who lives in her neighborhood and their kids ride the same bus. An instant connection was made. This is what Presence is all about...

If you have a sewing machine and want to do it yourself, here is a tutorial. If you don't have access to a machine, you can buy the fabric and precut masks to the right dimensions and search for the type of elastic in the photo above. Monica Graffam will pick up items from your porch and get them where they need to go. Reach out to her if you're able to help or are in healthcare and know of a specific place that has a need:

Let's be present even if we can't be present!
- Pastor Bryan


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