zion || toledo, oh
by Tom Nicholson and Joseph Neuberger, Kingdom Workers Volunteers
This past week was stuffed with more novel experiences. Even after the thrilling work of VBS, there was still much that needed to be done. Most of our attention was given to the Silent Auction that we’ll be hosting on July 18th. We needed to advertise to our congregation, research and learn more about auctions themselves, design an efficient layout for our space, and most importantly we had to gather the items for the auction.
Tom and I spent a significant amount of time calling, visiting, and otherwise soliciting from various businesses in Toledo. We requested gift cards, coffee cups, carwashes, and anything else that they would be willing to donate to help our cause. The proceeds from the action will be used to aid our community youth center -- which is rather small at the moment. Thus, the businesses had more than an economic or moral reason to donate; they were also aiding their community.
In addition to the silent action on the 18th, there will be a Health Fair, which will educate the community about various aspects of their health. Tom and I lined up a number of presenters and medical professionals to come and participate in the fair. The hope is that this event will strengthen our church’s reputation in the community, and thus will attract more people to the gospel.
To assist the school, we designed and printed a large number of postcards to be sent out in a mass mailing to all the TPS families. This will be a good springboard to discuss the school during future phone calls.
This week we had the wonderful opportunity of hosting “Camp Discovery”, the vacation Bible school published by CPH. Joey had the opportunity to teach the first through fourth graders and Tom had the privilege of serving as music leader. Throughout the week we discovered that God gives us courage and wisdom, that he will save us, that he loves us, and that he tells us to go and spread his word with others. The week culminated at the worship service this last Sunday followed by the church picnic . The kids sang “Camp Discovery”, “Big, Bold, Powerful God”, and “What a Mighty God We Serve”. The congregation sang the VBS version of “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow” and joined in on the last verse of “What a Mighty God We Serve”, which made for an awesome end to the service.
As music leader, I (Tom), got to see the kids go from slightly uncomfortable and mildly embarrassed on day one to comfortable and excited on day five. The biggest change was seen in the older kids as they warmed up to each other and became more comfortable singing and doing the actions. It was truly a privilege to share God’s word with these kids through music that talked about God’s love for us and his power to save us. By the end of the week, the kids were requesting their favorite songs, and it was obvious that they enjoyed the song and the message the song had. It was exhausting working with the pre-k through fourth graders, but it was also extremely rewarding as I got to see the word work in them.
These last two weeks have been busy, but the Lord continues to bless our efforts here at Zion in Toledo. Our two main focuses were a health fair and silent auction hosted by Zion and making contact with interested parents that hadn’t yet turned in paperwork for the upcoming year.
In preparation for the silent auction, Joey and I were responsible for calling and visiting local businesses to solicit donations from them. We spent several days going around town contacting businesses with our request. We also set up a Facebook page to allow online bidding. As donations came in Amy Biedenbender organized and presented the donations in a variety of 60 lots. We also contacted numerous health professionals in Toledo about offering some service to the community at our health fair/silent auction. Overall, we raised over $1000 for the Youth Center and provided a meal and health screening to members of the church and community.
Our other focus recently has been final visits to prospective families. The deadline for the Ohio EdChoice Application has been quickly approaching. We finished the second round of phone calls to Toledo Public School parents and we began visiting the people who had expressed interest in the school, but have not yet turned in their paperwork. Joey and I got the privilege of going out and visiting the homes of those interested, and the Lord has blessed our efforts. On our very first visit, we spoke to a gentleman sitting on a porch. We introduced ourselves as people from Zion Lutheran School and asked if the parent was around. He told us that she didn’t live there anymore, but was curious about the school and what we wanted to talk to her about. So we told him. And as we were talking his wife came home and a neighbor stopped by, all of whom were interested in hearing about the school. So, even though we didn’t actually speak to the person we intended to, God instead put three new families in front of us who we had the opportunity of talking to about the school. Lord willing, their children will come to Zion and hear the message of their Savior and then take that message home with them.
It’s crunch time here in Toledo. The window for the scholarship opportunity closes this week, and we’ve been scrambling to make sure that the parents have all their necessary paperwork in. Most of this week and last week has consisted of phone-calling, visiting, and otherwise contacting the parents who were showing interest in the school. As the list of potential new parents dwindles down from its once mighty girth, it is easy to become disappointed that so many families chose to go to school elsewhere. However, we’ve met our goal of twenty new children, and we’re still getting more who want to come and learn here at Zion. That is beautiful, and we know that the gospel will touch the hearts of all of them.
Many of these families we had to fight tooth and nail to get them to come in and see the school. We’d first began calling at the beginning of June, and some families with whom we established contact did not finalize their decision until this week! But others were just miraculous. We had one woman simply walk in the school a few days ago, and wanted to sign up. She had never been contacted by us before, and we had no idea who she was. But now she’s one of our new parents, and perhaps one day part of our church family.
It’s interesting, as most of our goals here this summer have been “pre-evangelism”, in that we weren’t so much focused on sharing Christ with people immediately as we were with getting to know them and welcoming them as part of our fellowship. That isn’t to say we don’t want to share Jesus’ love with them, but this summer’s goal has been to build the bridge so that we can share this love in the future. The desire to grow the school has reflected this goal greatly, and we hope that these new families will not only come to know their Savior, but also help us in the future to share Christ’s love with others.
The Lord is generous in his blessings. He blessed Joey and Tom this summer through their Summer Ministry Assistant program. God gave them the opportunities to meet a large variety of people from every walk of life. They also had the privilege of knowing the called workers at Zion in Toledo. In everything they did, they got to see His Word in action. They had the wonderful opportunity to share God’s love with an innumerable number of adults and children throughout the summer. And through it all, the Lord strengthened their faith and drew them closer to him.
The Lord also blessed their efforts. He blessed all the phone calls, the tours, and the home visits. He opened people up to his word and to the possibility of enrolling their children in Zion School. Last year, there were 37 students enrolled in Zion’s K-8 school. At the end of the summer, there were 61 students enrolled. And so, they called a new teacher for the upcoming year. Miriam Hanson accepted an emergency call and will be teaching first and second grade at Zion this school year.
Joey and Tom continue to pray that the Lord would continue to bless the outreach efforts of Zion and that they children they serve will be moved by the Holy Spirit to faith in their loving savior, Jesus Christ.
Want to support this ministry? Give a gift [HERE]
Share this with your circle