2020 Advent Letter
Pastor Dave Frincke
Dear Heartland Family,
Around this time of year when I was growing up, my dad would bring out the Advent wreath after dinner and we’d sing Advent hymns as a family. One of my favorites was “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” This hymn continues to have a special place in my heart. The final stanza is resonating with me today more than ever:
“O come, Desire of nations, bind all peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease; Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”
We’ve been through a lot this year as a church family. Not only have we walked through sorrows and difficult circumstances with each other, we’ve also wept and prayed together over the state of our world. As we sing these words throughout this Advent season, we’re reminded that God is actively using us to accomplish His mission until that glorious day when Jesus Christ returns. Despite all of the challenges we’ve encountered this year, the mission God has for Heartland to accomplish has moved forward in powerful and surprising ways!
Our international mission work is growing to levels of fruitfulness that we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago. Through the work of Pat Jehl and his team, our crusade tent evangelism program was instrumental in creating an official ministry called Anglican Missions Africa (AMA). AMA is now operating in every diocese in Kenya, training hundreds of evangelists with dozens of churches already being planted through the tents Heartland has provided. Even as the work is spreading to other countries in Africa, we also have approval to show the Jesus Film in 9000 schools in Kenya, along with launching a corresponding Bible club in each school. AMA is on track to plant 200 churches per year with a goal of 1000 new churches in 5 years. And we are sending over 12 more tents this year! Praise God!
United Adoration has taken huge leaps forward this year. Even though for most of the year we couldn’t hold in-person songwriting retreats, through innovative online initiatives we have reached more artists this year than in any other year! Our volunteer/missionary staff has about doubled in 2020. This influx of leaders has enabled us to hold around 40 retreats and events this year alone, giving us many opportunities to connect artists together, create a culture of collaboration and minister God’s healing touch to artists.
This year has been a really impactful year for our ministry in the Northside Neighborhood. Lori and her team are doing a phenomenal job helping us become more of a neighborhood congregation. In the midst of COVID-19, we’ve continued to minister to the teen moms at Northside High School through Young Lives. We’ve also had even more involvement with the Northside Neighborhood Association, who we worked with to host 6 food truck rallies at Lakeside Park. Again this year, we were a drop off location for Operation Christmas Child, with over 2000 boxes coming through our doors. We hired a food truck and provided lunch for the teachers and staff at both Northside High School and Lakeside Middle School. They even filled out prayer cards so we could pray with them!
Another big highlight for us was the completion of our mural. It was amazing to see the community come together to participate in the project. Tim Parsley, Fort Wayne resident who was our mural artist, said that he’s never had a project where so many people stopped to talk to him while he was painting. The number of cars slowing down to talk to him was so frequent that the mural almost got the nickname “Speed Bump.” It truly is a piece of art that communicates a powerful Gospel message. I look forward to the official dedication in the Spring.
Heartland Midweek was a very special time for our community. I am so thankful to everyone who cooked the meals, taught the classes, ministered to our children and cared for our babies. I loved hearing all the testimonies on the last Wednesday night; especially the testimonies given by our children! Through the camp at Deer Run with Michael Gobert, Heartland Midweek and our dynamic Children’s Ministry, it’s evident that Liam and his team are doing a fantastic job ministering to our children.
The amount of impactful ministry that’s happened this year is astounding. I wish I had adequate space in this short update to tell you all about our men’s & women’s ministry, the food pantry addition, our worship and arts community, Heartland Young Adults on Monday nights and the lives we’re changing through SoulCare. Lives are being touched, the Gospel is being preached, and we’re making a difference!
Streams of Hope Christian Academy
When we set out to start a school, we had no idea what unique challenges we would face in 2020. In my personal journaling on New Year’s Eve in 2019, I sensed the Lord telling me: “This is the year Streams of Hope starts and it will be a moment to remember.” Well, we will never forget the beginning of Streams of Hope, that’s for sure! I’m so proud of Janet Willig and our team who have been navigating through all the complexities of COVID-19 with such grace, humility and kindness. In addition to personalized academic learning, our weekly chapel services and creative afternoon classes (focused on faith, the arts and life skills) are helping our students grow in their faith and get a well-rounded education.
By God’s grace, Streams of Hope is off to a strong start. We started our first semester with 22 students and it looks that by January, our enrollment will have increased to 25.
We are already encouraged by testimonies from our school families. Some of the students struggle with anxiety and are grateful for the flexibility of Streams of Hope. This flexibility allows students to get the extra attention they need, removing the added stress of falling behind their peers. There’s a reason that “Hope” is in the name of our school!
At the end of last year, we successfully came together to raise money to prepare two rooms in our building so Streams of Hope could begin. As we look ahead to next school year, we need to prepare two more of our rooms so Streams of Hope can accommodate more students. The two additional rooms are in need of new flooring, upgraded HVAC, new bathroom fixtures and school furniture. The cost of these renovations will be approximately $35,000.
I am so thankful that all bills are paid and we are on track to meet this year’s budget. However, the cost to prepare these rooms is significant and exceeds what we are able to budget. It’s because of this that I would ask you to prayerfully consider giving a special, year end financial gift. There are many ways to give financially to Heartland; including Sunday mornings during worship, online at www.heartlandfw.org/giving, through our App or mailing in a check. Whichever way you decide to give, please write “Year end gift” in the memo section of your check, online form or envelope.
When we invest our time, money and prayer together as a community, we can accomplish great things for the Kingdom of God! Thank you all for your love, prayers and financial partnership. I look forward to discovering all that God has for us in the coming year.