Author Archives: Love Reaches

Spotlight on Curtis and Teresa Hubbell – Ministry On Two Wheels

During our Missions Focus Speed-Date-a-Missionary night, we had the privilege of hearing the high-octane heart of a motorcycle missionary who oversees a ten state region as a motorcycle chaplain but also does children’s ministry at biker rallies.

Curtis Hubbell felt a call to ministry at age nine and a call to missions at age eleven. After facing and conquering a few challenges with the help of Teen Challenge, he ended up in pastoral ministry for about ten years. The cry of his heart echoed that of Isaiah, “Here am I, send me” except God kept saying “No” to his dream of foreign missions complete with a shipping container holding all of his earthly possessions.

Having been riding a motorcycle since age five, there came a pivotal moment in his life when Curtis had the opportunity to check an item off of his bucket list by attending the massive motorcycle rally held annually in Sturgis, South Dakota. While there, he wandered off the beaten path and discovered what he called a “pile of kids” under every tree. His heart was both broken and horrified to realize that many bikers had brought their children into the sometimes sordid environment of a biker rally. He began to pray that God would protect the eyes of the children, and then that God would send someone to show those kids how much they are loved.

God answered that prayer through Curtis. What started with a portable suitcase filled with balloons, air pump, ventriloquist dummy, and a few verses on cards, has become a vibrant children’s ministry at various motorcycle rallies and swap meets across the country. In fact, eight years after starting this work full-time, Curtis and his wife Teresa now need an 18-wheeler rig to carry all of their equipment for the portable “Kidz Zone” as he runs puppet shows and preaches the gospel. Doors have opened and he was recently given access by the city to the main park in Sturgis order to continue ministering to the children, and through them, their families.

In addition to children’s ministry, Curtis is one of ten Assemblies of God motorcycle chaplains serving the nine million bikers in the United States. Part of that outreach involves the establishment of local HonorBound chapters in churches where members become part of a fellowship of believers and then receive evangelism training to continue to share the gospel with other bikers and their families.

Curtis used to worry about raising the money and support for his ongoing ministry, but was reminded that “vision is the same thing as reality when God is in it.” God took Curtis’s desire to be a missionary in full time ministry and paired it with his childhood passion for motorcycles to spread the gospel and touch families.

You can find out more about their ministry at www.thunderroadministries.org.

Spotlight on Rick and Lisa Christopherson – Rocky Mountain Chaplain Corps

During our recent Missions Focus Speed-Date-a-Missionary, we had the chance to hear from Rick Christopherson who serves the first responders in our local community as a chaplain with the Sheriff’s Department, Larimer County SWAT team, and more recently the Poudre Fire Authority.

Rick and Lisa Christopherson are familiar faces here at Timberline Church. Their family moved to Fort Collins in 1997 and by 2000, Rick was on staff as a youth pastor before later transitioning to an administrative and security role. Lisa has helped in various capacities around Timberline including in Women’s Ministries and continues to serve as a vital part of the U COUNT Campaign. In 2009, Rick began working with police officers in Fort Collins as a volunteer. This path led to becoming a more official Sheriff’s Chaplain role in 2013 and the eventual tug-of-war between two dreams as ministry inside the walls of Timberline Church and his increased roles in the community through a regional SWAT team competed for his time. Rick eventually left Timberline Church and founded the Rocky Mountain Chaplain Corps in order to serve those who serve others.

Police officers see the worst things in our community and it can be hard to block out those memories. Not to mention, our law enforcement personnel are lied to every day. While on the job, they are even sometimes required to use physical tactics in order to resolve conflict. At the end of the day, they go home to families who do not understand their burden and situations where completely different conflict resolution strategies are required. As a result, family and marital relationships can suffer.

However, relationships are also a key part of their emotional healing since Chaplain Rick is there to listen. He has built a solid foundation with local law enforcement officers by attending regular trainings and riding along during their everyday operations. By being present as a part of the team for years, Rick is trusted by the first responders whenever a critical incident occurs.

Because he knows firsthand what the officers face, Chaplain Rick is able to listen during debriefs, offer advice, and even compassionately help with other pastoral duties including death notifications or comforting family members at the scene. In addition to serving three different agencies, Rick also does security consultations for non-profit organizations and helps educate law enforcement regarding human trafficking issues and resources.

Here’s a glimpse behind the scenes with excerpts from Rick’s blog about an incident that occurred last year:

“I was getting ready for bed on that night when, before I swung my feet under the covers, the pager beeps the priority alert with the message to respond immediately for a hostage situation. This causes an automatic adrenaline shot. I was once tired but now I am good to go. This particular call out is only 2½ miles from my house. I grab the last thing I wore and rush to the scene.

I have a simple job as a SWAT chaplain. Just be available. I watch and listen intently to monitor and care for a group of individuals that are from all different backgrounds and places in life. Some are married, some have kids. Some are democrats and others republican. Men and women in their 40’s and others in mid-thirties and twenties. Different religious beliefs or no beliefs at all. Some with a really good sense of humor and some who are more serious. A few of these people have Southern accents while others from out East. All of them are stubborn and opinionated and have no issues convincing each other they are right to prove a point. Tall, short, fit or round (but still fit), all of them… Operator, Scout, Negotiator, Medic, Patrol, Investigator, Commander and Team Leader, show up with one priority only……. Save the life of the hostage. Individuals setting all individual issues aside and operating as 1 team. Well trained and practiced, these men and women work like a machine to produce a lifesaving unit. This team stands ready to run into danger to do one thing…. Save the hostagePriority of life is hostage over themselves.

Back to the story… SWAT operators show up on scene and relieve the fearless patrol deputies in the mobile home.  I’m ferrying tools and equipment up to them and listening intently over the radio. It was clear… this call out wasn’t typical of most call outs. This call went from bad to worse.  My heart races as I hear over the radio the negotiators saying, “He’s trying to blow up the trailer.” Both commander and team leader of like-minded priority decide they can’t wait. Waiting could kill the hostage. The team plows through a barricade of debris and furniture and within seconds they are face to face with a suspect hell bent on destruction and taking lives.

“Shots Fired!” rings out over the radio a few seconds after I heard the actual shots fired. I’m only 50 yards away listening to this on the radio and my emotions, while in check, are still ranging from fear of loss of life of this hostage and the fear that my friends will be killed in a massive explosion. I leave the command van and run towards the mobile home so I can see my friends and make sure they are ok. I arrive in time to see the hostage being placed in the ambulance and it hit me like a ton of bricks…   The extreme pride that I’m associated with these operators. Men with families and friends who are willing to sacrifice their very lives for a stranger in need.

“The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion….” Proverbs 28:1 and “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:3

Biblical words played out in the reality of our times. The media and some in our society would lump cops into the stereotype defined by a few bad actors, when in reality the guardians of our communities would prioritize these very same people and all people in our communities as: hostage – innocent – then themselves. Without this priority our communities would be plunged into chaos.

I am proud of my team. I am in awe of all law enforcement who set an example and are willing to give it all for the sake of their community and team.”

You can find out more about Rick’s ministry at www.RockyMountainChaplain.org.

Spotlight on Brent and Leah Phillips – Cherishing Uganda

For years, our very own TimberKids have raised money to buy chickens, a motorcycle, rainwater barrels, and even pigs for Cherish Uganda. During our recent Missions Focus Speed-Date-a Missionary night, we had the chance to meet the current directors, Brent and Leah Phillips.

A lot can happen when a pastor’s wife takes time out of a trip to support a missionary wife overseas. After a 45-minute tour of a children’s home serving kids with HIV, Leah left with the lingering idea that their church back in the United States should perhaps support the ministry. Eventually she realized that the nudge had to do with their personal family, not their church so they returned for another visit. Eleven months later, they sold everything and moved to Uganda.

Cherish Uganda is a self-sustainable children’s village comprised of seven family-style homes where two alternating moms, an auntie, and eight children live onsite. There is also a farm to provide work and food including those chickens and pigs TimberKids helped buy. Hope Academy is an elementary school for both Cherish and community members with plans to expand to a middle and high school curriculum. More recently, the Hope Hospital opened and serves the greater community living with high-risk conditions like HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, malaria, and tuberculosis. In a typical day, Cherish Uganda has 450 people in and out of their complex.

At the core of their ministry are the hearts of orphaned and vulnerable children. Many of these were abandoned by their families and picked up by the police. Some—in the wake of a move to clear the cities of street kids prior to tours by visiting dignitaries—are actually sent to a children’s prison to suffer a worse fate unless they can be brought to Cherish Uganda instead.

Once inside the loving arms of Cherish Uganda, the children are first given holistic care through food, life-saving medication, clothing, education, and counseling. Over time, the desire is to plant hope in the heart of a child by connecting them with Christ in order to rewrite their past scars of worthlessness into a story of hope. Another goal is to eventually reunite them with some sort of extended family

After investing six years on the ground and four years as CEO, Brent and Leah Phillips are now based in the United States to continue raising funds and return to Uganda each quarter for a multi-week visit. In their absence, the 125-person locally-led staff continues to cherish the rejected children of Uganda. You can find out more at cherishuganda.org.

Spotlight on Missionary Alfred Murillo – Dreaming Big

Those who attended our Missions Focus Speed-Date-a-Missionary night met Alfred Murillo. He shared about being raised in a gang-filled environment in San Jose and later drawing on those experiences as he and his wife targeted the “West Side Strip” of Salt Lake City through the ministry of the Utah Dream Center.

What is your dream? Are you living the dream or have you forgotten that you once had one? Having a dream is daring, especially when you start to expect joy and good things in your life. But what if God was at the center of your dream? And what if your dream and God’s plan worked together to further the Kingdom of God?

There is a such a place where God and dreams come together to change lives forever. The idea of a dream center started with a pastor by the name of Matthew Barnett who established the Dream Center in Los Angeles, California. From this model, Alfred and Anna Murillo founded the Utah Dream Center in 2000 in Salt Lake City. Their initial sidewalk children’s ministry began using a renovated truck and fold-down platform that Timberline Church helped to buy. They have since grown this ministry into something extraordinary.

The Utah Dream Center is fueled by Jesus’ words taken from the gospel of Matthew 25:35-36, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

As a result, the Utah Dream Center provides food pantries, clothing closets, a drop in center, and after school programs. The mission has also helped in setting up language churches since there are a staggering 117 languages spoken in the area by refugees from around the world. They recently added a mobile medical unit to service health needs and are active in the local schools providing anti-drug and anti-gang information to prevent today’s children from ending up in jail.

We asked Alfred if he could share with us an example of a dream that came alive with God’s power working at the Utah Dream Center. He spoke of a man, Fabian, and his wife and their three children who were living in a storage container. They had very little hope. Through the services they were provided at the Utah Dream Center, they got saved and healed of addiction. Now, Fabian is in Bible college and doing jail ministry while his wife works as a secretary for the Dream Center.

Alfred said, “Our dream is to live to see your dream.” That is the truly selfless and loving attitude displayed by all those involved in the Utah Dream Center. Please keep the Utah Dream Center and the Murillos in your prayers as they share God’s love while helping those in need in practical ways.

To find out more or get involved in the Utah Dream Center, contact the Timberline Missions department at 970-482-4387 extension 141 or email lovereaches@timberlinechurch.org.

Spotlight on Missionary Reza Zadeh – In The Game

For those who attended the Speed Date A Missionary nights during our 2017 Missions Focus, you met Reza Zadeh and heard his amazing testimony of how God used a group of missionary families attending a conference in Fort Collins to reach the heart of an Iranian-American college football player. Reza’s journey eventually led him into pastoral ministry and full circle back to work with athletes. Our Storytellers team took the opportunity to shine a spotlight on this local ministry.

There is little doubt that sports culture dominates our attention. We can possibly try to divert our attention away, but it’s not long before someone is bringing up the buzzer beater half-court shot that won the game, or the fifty-two-yard field goal that took the game into overtime. Even the Apostle Paul referenced sports in some of his writing. (1 Cor. 9:24-27) Certainly then, this mission of Athletes in Action, is a notable place to start dialoging about opening doors to athletes and faith in Jesus Christ our Savior.

Reza Zadeh, on staff full-time with Athletes in Action, serves athletes at Colorado State University, University of Northern Colorado, and Denver University. Zadeh conducts a CSU Bible study of 30-40 athletes and 16 athletes that are a part of Discipleship Groups. Here he says, “the athletes learn what it means to intimately follow Jesus, worship Him through their sport and learn the skill of reaching and discipling their teammates and others in the athletic department.” He also serves as a guest chaplain for visiting NFL football teams.

It seems that the potential to reach people through athletics is huge. Just look at Tim Tebow for an idea of how far an athlete’s platform can reach. However, many have a hard time meshing the components of athletics and Christianity. After all, Christianity is our everyday walk in grace and humility while sports is something of an all-out, superiority struggle. But Zadeh says, “Our hope for our college campus ministry is Every athlete, on Every team in Every athletic department. We want every team in the world to have at least one Christ Follower on it dedicated to fulfilling the Great Commission by reaching their teammates and discipling them.”

I asked Reza if he saw a specific trend in athletics today that opens the door for Athletes in Action. His response was: “There is so much pressure on athletes to perform. This pressure comes from parent’s, coaches, media, fans, alumni and keeping their scholarship. I have coached my kid’s sports teams and I see this pressure starting at a very young age. Parents are continually wanting to push their kids in hopes that their son/daughter will become the next star athlete or earn that athletic scholarship. The most damaging thing an athlete can do is put their identity and or self-worth in their sport.”

Zadeh goes on to say that, “Although sports are a wonderful thing . . . sports will let you down. Coaches, media, fans, parent’s alumni will let you down one day and your sport cannot love you the way you want it to love you.”

Athletes in Action is a mission that serves to strengthen the bond between Jesus and the athlete whether winning or not.  The schism between Christianity and sport does not have to be polarizing or inconvenient or negative. Zadeh tells us that Athletes in Action “. . . teach athletes that their identity is not in their sport, but their identity is in the One who created them and created sport in the first place. It is Jesus that gives us ultimate worth and until athletes can see that sports are a platform where they can worship Jesus rather than sports being a platform for them to be worshiped or them to worship sports-they will continually be frustrated.”

There can be a like-mindedness between Christianity and athletics. I asked Zadeh what it would look like if Jesus’ message of hope was brought to athletes today? He said this, “The message of the Gospel reminds us that our motivation in life is much bigger than wins/losses. If athletes can find a way to be motivated by the love that God has for them and allow that to drive them, then their motivation will never run out.”

Currently Athletes in Action is serving athletes at CSU, UNC, and DU. They are looking to expand to other athletic departments along the front range. (Metro State, CU, Wyoming). On a personal note, Reza Zadeh says, “We know that our athletes have the potential to reach the world. When I grab one of my college athletes or one of the NFL players that I disciple and take them to a school or a kid’s camp, every ear is attentive because they have a platform. We want to help remove the spiritual scales off the eyes of the athletes so they can see their lives and platform through the lens of the Kingdom and be a part of building the Kingdom.”

Thank you Reza for sharing your story and for your tireless effort in reaching athletes for Jesus. If you would like to know more about Athletes in Action and how you can pray for this local ministry, please contact the Missions department for information. Remember, when you give to missions through Timberline Church, you are helping to  support missionaries like Reza.

Spotlight on a Family Serving in Central Asia

Due to the sensitive nature of their work and the region where they serve, we can’t share much in the way of details about one particular missionary family that we support but had the privilege to learn more about during Missions Focus. While the husband is away planting churches and doing ministry, the wife often stays behind to care for their home and children. As she shares in her own words, ministry happens there too.  Please pray for this missionary family and others like them serving in sensitive regions like Central Asia.

Friendship:

I prayed for her for weeks.

The day I met her, she took my daughter, Ruth, from my arms and carried her the rest of the way to my house. It was a long, dusty walk. I did my best to carry a conversation with her in my new language. She was patient. She smiled. I hired her that day.

And then I called my husband, Josh and told him I had just met my new best friend. He laughed.

She started by coming to my house 2 days a week – allowing me “more time to study.” Whether she would help with cleaning, laundry, cooking or child care was yet to be determined. I had planned to use the time she was there to study behind closed doors, but when she started working in my home I felt compelled to be with her all the time. Cleaning beside her, cooking with her, folding laundry together and talking about our lives.

After being in my home only a handful of days she asked softly, “Do you know Him?”

I hesitated, wanting to be careful that I wasn’t misunderstanding because of our language barrier. I wasn’t. She knows Him too.  But she explained the horrific scene that unfolds if she studies about Him or talks about Him at home.

After lunch one afternoon I asked if she wanted to study the Word together in her language.  Not having a plan of where we would begin, she took my copy of the Book and turned to Mark’s story of Jesus. Slowly she read out loud the story of the greatest sacrifice in the history of the world.

It wasn’t where I had thought to start, but it was as if she couldn’t wait to read again about what He had done for her.  The sacrifice that He made for her.   A Love so real.  That Love – something she doesn’t find outside of knowing Him.

She comes to my house 4 days a week now.  We study in my home together. We pray together. And she asks me to pray in her language so she can understand me. She is a gift to me, and I am to her.

Often I hear her thanking Him for a sister that she has found in me. I’m grateful for our deep friendship.

Cupped Hands:

A neighbor lady stopped over the other day.

She tells me almost every time she comes that there is no other table that she enjoys sitting at more than mine. And let me just say this – every time she has come, my table has had nothing on it.

Actually, one time, she even asked me if I owned a teapot. Oops! We chatted a bit that afternoon and then she said she had work to do at home. As I was walking her out to the gate, she said she was going home to do some baking, but wasn’t sure what to bake.

I told her I had some ideas. So, she brought ingredients over and I taught her how to make chocolate cake. She tried a bite of the cake and said it tasted like something you could only buy at a restaurant. She loved it.

Then she asked if I knew how to bake bread. I answered in the affirmative. With that she cupped her hands together and said, “Your husband needs to carry you around like this.”

I didn’t tell her that he already does. That he lifts me up, that he carries me, that he knows the days that my heart is more fragile, that he values my efforts in the home and that he loves me in a cupped hands kind of way.

I couldn’t tell her, because she has never seen a cupped hands kind of love. I am asking the Lord now to give me the courage to tell her to cup her own hands. To hold them out and up, and to experience what happens when her cupped hands get filled.

You can read more from others serving in the same region at  http://silkroad.livedead.org/ 

Impacting San Francisco – The 2017 Trip Report

From March 11-18, 2017, Timberline College sent a team to San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. This tough area is one square mile that houses 37,000 people in low-income apartments, less than 0.5% of who attend a church. Needless to say, the spiritual and physical needs for this community are great.

To attend to physical needs for this impoverished area, the team volunteered at a thrift shop and at the City Impact school as well as helped with an event called TL Revive, in which they gave out food and clothes. They also helped with medical care.

In order to seek out the spiritual needs of the people, the team handed out chips or sandwiches during the evenings while asking people what they needed prayer for. Of course, some locals wanted prayer and were willing to share their stories, while others simply wanted the food and no conversation. Nevertheless, the team reached their goal of building relationships throughout the week. They said their time in San Francisco “challenged and pushed us, but we have grown to have a heart for this place and a heart for these people.”

In an area of the United States virtually forgotten by not just society but also by Christians, these tangible and intangible acts of love and kindness, which represent Christ so fully, will not soon be forgotten. Certainly the work that God has begun there will multiply in the future.

Thank you for your prayers for safety, provision and a deep connection to the Holy Spirit as He led this team through their daily interactions with the locals!

If you are interested to know more about San Francisco City Impact and all they do in the Tenderloin District, please visit: https://www.sfcityimpact.com/.  You can also learn more about the mission by watching this 4-minute video: