Saturday, April 30, 2011


Finally, a day dry and warm enough for the kids to put the first coat of paint on the mural! It was so fun watching a few members of the Youth Art Team at work. We had some good laughs too. As you can see from a photo above, the paint didn't always go straight from the brush or roller to the wall, and at one point when we were asking the kids if they remembered what words they had chosen to go on the wall, one of the students said, "I love power!" Actually, honey, that's the whole sin problem. The vote was for "Love is Power", the way of Jesus to actually deal with that problem. Lots of joy around the wall today, and the wall looks amazing! Go, Youth Art Team!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Interlude Dance goes to Haiti

Picture the Interlude Dance during an Easter Service in Haiti!

If someone would have told me that I was going to spend about 7 hours in church on Easter Sunday in three different worship services and not understand most of what was being said or sung, and the day turned out to be very powerful and exciting, I might have wondered if they knew me very well. Turns out, that was our day. Lots of church, and lots of fun.

After an early breakfast of home-made cinnamon rolls, we walked down the road to UCI's worship center for their 7:00 am Easter Sunday service. These Sunday morning services started only 4 months ago, mostly because several new believers, many of them recent converts from voodoo, had asked for a Sunday morning service of their own. I had a chance to preach, which was a thrill, especially since it was Easter Sunday morning. Before the service was even over, JeanJean, Pat O. and I jumped in the Toyota headed to the Maranatha Church for their morning service. Most Sundays JeanJean travels between both of these churches, preaching and leading worship. Today wasn't planned, but the scheduled pastor was sick, so JeanJean asked me if I'd like to preach again. Why not! It only seemed fair since we've made the Mompremiers run back and forth between several services and classes when they've visited Orchard Hill Church. Pat got a chance to close off the service with a prayer.

Probably the high point of the day for all of us was the special community Easter Service later in the afternoon at the worship center. Choirs and groups from several churches were part of the service, many of them involving youth and teenagers. Some of the youth gave a skit throughout the service of the story of Jesus' death and resurrection. The music was powerful, amazingly energetic, joyful and Spirit-filled. Hard to put into words. It all lasted 3 and a half hours. It could have gone longer, but the sun was going down and people had to walk home. There was one unique part of the service that we contributed to. At the close, after an inspiring word of celebration from JeanJean, he invited everyone (about 450 people) to get up off of their feet and dance in praise of what Jesus has done for us. Then the music began... it was the Interlude song that all of you UNI fans are so familiar with. And our team was right in front leading the dance, along with about 20 students that we had taught the dance to yesterday. How's that for an Easter service closing!

That's all for today. We're all pretty beat, but still smiling. We've got a few full days ahead of us. So, keep us in your prayers.

Love from all of us to all of you.

And Happy Easter! He is risen!

On behalf of the team.... Doug Tensen

Friday, April 22, 2011

our debt is paid

The most important event of my life happened over 2000 years ago. Thank you, Jesus.

youth art team wraps up inside

Our last class session of Youth Art Team wrapped up inside last night. Students sketched what they're going to paint on their individual block on the wall.
Nathan counted orders for Youth Art Team notecards. The team has made $320 from the sale of the notecards. This pays for the printing and envelope costs, and for the painting supplies needed.
Students wrote letters to the person they interviewed in the fall, asking if they would like to purchase a set of notecards.
Students and grown-ups bundled notecards into their sets so they could be delivered.
Students finished emailing their teachers an invitation to purchase a set of notecards.

Now....we wait on the weather so that we can go outside to PAINT!!! Wouldn't you know it, the week has been cold, cold, cold and rainy/snowy here in Iowa in the middle of April!

Check out a much cooler chronicle of Youth Art Team at

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Picnic in the Park

This video was made in the summer of 2009. We're now gearing up for our 3rd summer/fall of Picnic in the Park (PIP) with Harvest Vineyard in Lincoln Park. Come be a part...the first and third Sundays of the month, June through October!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

minority and majority soon to flip-flop

"Most of the nation's children will be minorities before the decade is out..." read more here from the Washington Post article.

The U.S. population overall will be predominantly minority before 2042.

This change will create a new definition of majority and minority. I, Laura Hoy, European-American, will soon be a minority.

The Church might not want to wait to become multi-ethnic...because our country is certainly not waiting! A new reality is upon us in America. What a great opportunity to learn, practice, and grow in crossing cultural and ethnic boundaries in Christ.


Four stories that inspire me:

Cunningham Elementary 5K: This morning, with SNOW on our community's lawns, Cunningham Elementary, located on the eastside of Waterloo, hosted its first 5K race in its history. It birthed from a young teacher and a parent from the school who love to run and have begun a runners' club with the fourth graders from Cunningham. When the idea of a 5K was voiced, and action was taken to organize the event, the goal was to get 100 people participate. Despite the unseasonably cold mid-April temperatures this morning, over 240 people arrived to run/walk. And the organizing team did a GREAT job marking the course, having encouragers and guides along the route, music, snacks, photographers, a big timer at the end, and more. It was an awesome community turnout, and I love that it started with the students, staff, and parents. I loved seeing students and adults along the route. Inspiring.

East High Basketball Banquet: Some friends of mine helped assist the coach and support the East High Boys Varsity Basketball Team this season. Despite a tough season for the Trojans, I was inspired as I walked around church a few weeks ago and watched our commons transform into a banquet room for the players and their parents. In the church kitchen, a small group of friends were busy preparing lasagnas and other fine foods to help the young men know they were appreciated and celebrated. Inspiring.

Helping a single mom: One of our staff members at church is a single mom with 2 children and a baby due soon. I sit with a small team of friends who are working together with this mom to encourage and walk beside her and her children. As I sit around the table at our family team meetings, I am reminded of how true the saying "it takes a village to raise a child" really is. And I admire what everyone around the table brings to the table. We have a lot to learn from each other and a lot to hold each other to as we walk out faith and loving our neighbor. Not easy, but nevertheless, Inspiring.

Kitchen remodel: I love how God makes connections. George and Judy, our friends at Harvest, have been leading the remodel job of a 1908 house purchased in the Walnut Neighborhood. They've been praying for someone who can do a kitchen makeover. Meanwhile, Joel and Laura Meyers who go to Orchard Hill, have been praying for a way to use their gifts and passions in a meaningful way. One of their passions and skill sets guessed it... kitchen makeovers. God used Lilli, their daughter, to connect the parties, and this morning, Joel was over at the 3:16 House ripping out the old kitchen in order to go in with the new. Yay, God! Inspiring.

Have any inspiring stories to add to the mix?

Friday, April 15, 2011


Some days I can hardly bear the feelings of "all that is not right". I think it even gets worse for me the more I immerse myself simultaneously in broken places/relationships and in Scripture. God gives me more and more hunger and vision for "rightness", shalom, justice and He gives me more and more truth to the realities of my own brokenness and that around me. The other day I was meeting with a friend who told me that he wished he could help remove some of the angst that I am feeling. My reading this morning in the book Reconciling All Things reminds me why the depth of angst is so critically important for this journey, and how, though I am to live in the hope, peace, and rest of God the Victor, I am also to bear this important and heavy angst.

From the chapter "The Discipline of Lament":

"Lament is not despair. It is not whining. It is not a cry into a void. Lament is a cry directed to God. It is the cry of those who see the truth of the world's deep wounds and the cost of seeking peace. It is the prayer of those who are deeply disturbed by the way things are."

"Over and again, lament teaches us about both what must be learned and what must be unlearned in order to live well in a broken world. If we are to participate in God's plan to reconcile all things in Jesus Christ, we must begin to listen to this cry."

"The first language of the church in a deeply broken world is not strategy, but prayer. The journey of reconciliation is grounded in a call to see and encounter the rupture of this world so truthfully that we are literally slowed down. We are called to a space where any explanation or action is too easy, too fast, too shallow- a space where the right response can only be a desperate cry directed to God. We are called to learn the anguished cry of lament. "

"..the more intensely we engage the divides of this world at the places of pain, the more the truth about what is wrong with us comes to the surface. The more we learn to lament, the more we see the need for time to grow, to forgive, and learn how to love. "

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Community Day at Hawkeye Community College

Meet my friend, Lilli. Lilli goes to Hawkeye Community College, loves God, loves others, and is stepping out more and more to lead in her walk of faith. Over the past seven years, I have loved watching how God has been working in Lilli and using her to make a difference.

Recently, Lilli took on the leadership of the first ever "Community Day" which happened at Hawkeye Community College today. For three hours, representatives of many community non-profits came to share information at tables in the student center, and Lilli arranged for six speakers to share stories of impact from serving in their community. The stories were so moving, and I loved how each one pointed to faith in Christ as the motivation for service.

As a part of the event, there was a blank canvas with paints next to it, allowing people to paint their dreams for the community. Thanks, Lilli, for helping students to paint some dreams and possibilities in their minds today of how God might use their lives to make a significant difference in the world!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

foods resource bank

Sundays, April 10 and 17
Donations will be accepted
$20 will purchase one row of crop

Since 2004, we have participated in the Foods Resource Bank (FRB) crop project. The project pulls together our congregation, farmers and individuals who work together to share resources and raise money. The process includes personal donations of money, land, equipment and labor, planting the crop, harvesting that crop and finally selling it.

In 7 years our congregation has contributed $46,310 to the project which has resulted in $116,800 going to missional outreach around the world. This represents a return on our investment of 253%. In 2010, we dispursed money to a Clean Water Well project and the school project in Mozambique.

We have farmers at Orchard Hill involved in Foods Resource Bank. What I love is how over the past seven years, we've focused to tie the FRB work into two existing partnerships our congregation in Haiti and the other in Mozambique. When we focus our efforts like this, we can strengthen relationships, learn more together, cultivate community, and be more effective in wholistic transformation.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Update from partners in Haiti

Pictures: Kerri Mompremier turns 9 and celebrates with her cousin, Wenderline.
Kids at school enjoy new seesaw and playground equipment.
Men are making cassava bread.

"I thank my god in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now," Philippians 1:3-5

I am writing this on a special day. Nine years ago, God gave us Kerlande Francia Mompremier, or Kerri, as most people know her. We love our daughters so much. God truly blesses us through our children.

As many of you know, Haiti has a new president. Michel Joseph Martelly will be taking power on May 14. He is a former pop star named ‘Sweet Mickey,’ with no previous political experience. He has already told the Haitian population that he wants to have 2 seasons of Carnival instead of one. Please pray that God will turn his heart around to lead Haiti in a right way. We want to see Haiti completely for Christ. He is the only hope of the nations.

Praise the Lord for all the progress at UCI. The Lord gives His grace to us every day. The cassava mill is making a lot of cassava bread for the school kids and for the community. Cassava bread and peanut butter is a good way to start the day. Everyone that tastes our cassava says that Caiman Cassava is the best—and I agree! Smile emoticon We will be pulling 50 farmers together to plant manioc (cassava). UCI will help with a loan to help get them started. When they harvest it they will bring the cassava to our mill and we will grind it and make it into bread. In that way, the farmers will be able to pay back their loan and more farmers will be able to enter into the program. The community has been very excited about having more cassava available.

Please continue your prayers for the Bible school. A lot people in the community are anxious to attend. The more we pray about the school, the more we believe that God is leading us to use this tool to equip and train Haitian leaders. We want other communities to experience how God’s Word can change people’s hearts and that leads to sustainable community development. The key is godly leadership that will follow God’s direction and timing. JeanJean has already started developing a practicum for putting biblical principles into action. We have found several well-qualified teachers. We are so thankful to see God’s hand at work.

Some other prayer requests for UCI:

· Our church at Caiman will be having its first community Easter service. We have invited all the churches in the community to come. We asked each church to send a singing group to praise the resurrection of our Savior. Our youth group will be leading the service, playing the bells, doing a liturgical dance, and a wordless skit. Pray that this will be a great way to unite the Christians in our area.

· UCC’s school administrator and teachers tell us that the kids did well on their exams. The first year is always tough, but the staff and the kids are doing excellent. We have our first kindergarten graduation on July 1.

· We have the new tree nursery built and the shade cloth is in place. Just in time, too, as Saul had had to turn away several people and organizations that wanted to buy trees. All of UCI’s trees are sold! We need to get planting and grafting more.

· The second week of May will be our 4th pastors’ conference. Later in May will be our 3rd agricultural conference. May God’s will be accomplished.

Thank you in advance for all your faithful prayers. As it says above, you are our partners in the gospel in Haiti,

JeanJean, Kristie, Tana and Kerri Mompremier

day five immersion

Final day of Immersion was beautiful. We spent the morning with Noel Castellanos talking about redistribution in the context of all 8 components of Christian Community Development. We also went out on site visits to La Villita Community Church and Breakthrough Urban Ministries in the afternoon. When arriving back to South Loop Community Church, we walked in to find a chocolate fountain in one corner, and Dave Clark and band providing some great background music up front. A social time led into dinner, worship, sharing, and prayer. A tremendous time together as we closed out the week of Immersion.

To follow-up our immersion experience, we are to have read all of the required books and write a 10 page paper. I already know what I am compelled to put into writing. I'd highly recommend an Immersion experience for anyone who is called and working to restore under-resourced communities. If you wanted to get a peek into the content, check out one or more of the required reading:

Generous Justice by Timothy Keller
Real Hope in Chicago by Wayne Gordon with Randall Frame
Beyond Charity by John M. Perkins
Empowerment by Mary Nelson, PhD
Compassion, Justice, and the Christian Life by Robert D. Lupton
Theirs is the Kingdom by Robert D. Lupton
Reconciling All Things by Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice
Communities First edited by Jay Van Groningen

Thursday, April 7, 2011

day four immersion

Spent the morning yesterday listening to Wayne Gordon talk about "Church-based Community Development" and "Indigenous Leadership," and Bob Lupton spoke in the afternoon on "Empowerment". I've listened to both of them multiple times in person and on CD, but I never tire of their leadership. I consider both mentors of mine on this walk of faith and justice. A couple of books they've both written that I would encourage you to read are:

Real Hope in Chicago and Who is My Neighbor? by Wayne Gordon
Compassion, Justice, and the Compassionate Life and For Theirs is the Kingdom by Robert Lupton

Actually had an evening free last night. I took the train to Macy's to buy Frango chocolates for our children. Frangos are a favorite and a special treat since we don't have a Macy's in Iowa.

day three immersion

"Immersion" is an accurate word for this week long experience. Or perhaps "Dunking" or"Flooding" might be even more appropriate language for it. :) Yesterday, we went strong from 8:00 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. Starting with Dr. Perkins for a morning Bible Study, Dr. Mary Nelson for the rest of the morning talking about "Listening to the Community", and then site visits where we listened to the leaders speak from the five different ministries we visited, ending at the Marin Foundation late last night. Themes from the day:listening, humility, loving and valuing people who are different than I am, joining together to become a new community in which God can use all of our gifts and offerings for His Kingdom glory.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

day two in ccda immersion

Bible Study with JP:

Perkins taught on John 4, Jesus and the woman at the well". He talked about our common human needs: the need to be loved, need for significance, and our need for reasonable amount of security. He spoke about how society is reflecting these three needs all the time. As disciples, we need to apply God's principles into these three needs all the time.

Some JP quotes from the day:
"Racism is an affront to the Gospel, but the Church reinforces racism more than any other institution. We need to get rid of the contradictions....the segregated Church is a heresy.
Black folks want barriers in the Church to break down even less than whites because the church has represented their power base on earth. Whites forced that to happen over the years."

"The Church is the continuation of Jesus' life here on earth. We are the human part of God that is still on earth. We have to stay as close as we can to the pain and suffering on earth. That's what Jesus did; that's what we need to do."

"Don't go patronize. Go to ignite the life of God in the neighborhood, in the community."

Relocation workshop with Patty Prasado-Rao:

Patty, the co-executive director of New Song Urban Ministries in Sandtown (Baltimore, MD), faciliated in a wonderful morning on one of the key components of CCDA: relocation. Mark, the director of Habitat in Sandtown, lives in Sandtown and shared these three learnings from his relocation:

1. Dr. Perkins has said, "If you're not indigenous to the suffering, you have to make a move into the pain." Mark and his wife have done this and have found it very difficult and very liberating.
2. Mark shared that the most important thing he can do is be present in the lives of his neighbors.
3. He has learned the true meaning of love as referred to in John 15:13 (Greater love has no one than this: that he would lay down his life for another.) Mark has relocated not only his body but also his heart and feels he's prepared to give his life for his neighbors.

Reconciliation workshop with Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner

We spent the afternoon in conversation and learning about Biblical reconciliation with Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner. One activity was to take the following quiz and then have conversation about what we learned from it.

Are you a Biblical Reconciler? (answer often, sometimes, never to each question)

1. Do you pray regularly for racial healing in our nation and world?
2. Do you or have you prayed for God to heal your heart of any racial prejudice you may have?
3. Do you visit churches whose members are of a different race than you?
4. Do you pray for people from other races by name?
5. Other than work, do you socialize with persons from other races?
6. Do you purposely read books, watch videos or use other resources that increase your awareness of other cultures?
7. Do you arrange playtimes for your children or grandchildren with children of other races?
8. When racial tension arises, do you have a friend from another race to pray with you for racial healing?
9. Do you have a trusted friend of a different race with whom you can pray regularly about key issues of your life, family, or work?
1o. Do you celebrate the birthday of someone from a different race or culture?

Score of 70-100 You are a Biblical reconciler; Score of 50-69 You periodically act as a reconciler; score of 49 or below You need to pray to become a reconciler

Emmaus Ministries ( We took the train to Uptown in the evening and learned about Emmaus Ministries, an outreach and refuge for male prostitutes in Chicago.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

We spent the day at Lawndale yesterday in the midst of a historic and busy day in the neighborhood. April 4th marks the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assasination in 1968. And so on this day, the Dr. King Legacy apartment complex in Lawndale had its ribbon cutting ceremony. MLK III, state and local politicians, and others joined in celebrating the completion of these 44 units of affordable housing in the neighborhood that were erected on the site that MLK Jr. lived with his family in 1966 as he came north to fight injustice. About 500 children drew a "I have a dream" picture and those pictures were scanned into a computer and made into the mural of MLK Jr. that you see in the picture.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.....Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation." -Martin Luther King Jr.

day one with John Perkins

John Perkins is influencing my life and call perhaps more than any other person in my adult life. A few quotes from the time he spent with the group yesterday.

"We have a theological problem. We have put the Gospel into our race, our culture, our nation, and we've created a powerless gospel."

"We have been indoctrinated with racism and bigotry. We have reduced God to fit into our cultural boxes."

"We've substituted the power of God for prosperity. We've reduced God to our cultural biases. We're seeking God for what we can get, not seeking God for God. We're seeking things rather than God."

"Put yourselves in the hand of God. Know God. Trust God's goodness. This isn't about me and my ministry. It's about knowing God. It's about God."

"We're calling ourselves Christians before we're disciples. We have to be about discipleship. I was discipled three years so that I could know how to observe Jesus and follow him."

"I need a God stronger than racism. We gotta do this thing together. It's powerful when we get in this pain together. We gotta get some passion happening. I believe that if there is a group of people who are willing to obey even a little bit that God is so concerned about this that He will get up under us in this."


Staying at the Hostel International Chicago this week while I'm at the CCDA Immersion. Bunking with a group of 6 females from the Immersion. Affordable option for anyone looking to come stay in Downtown Chicago. On the corner of Wabash and Congress. There's even a continental breakfast, and you get to wash your own dishes when you're done. Feels a bit like camp this week!

Thought I'd include some of the murals at the hostel since we're in mural mode with Youth Art Team this session!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

transformation through love and oneness

Love Cedar Valley was a beautiful day yesterday. God showed His goodness in hundreds of ways throughout the day.

The Courier covered it with this article and video. And with this editorial a few days later.

Friday, April 1, 2011

youth art team...from old to new

Youth Art Team Week #2 consisted of teams going about various tasks. Two groups went to the library to research murals. Check out these sites:,, and Amazing artwork out there! One picture above shows the pride in receiving one's first Waterloo public library card while we were there. :)

One group went to the paint store and priced paint and supplies for the mural project. The paint store employee even volunteered to donate paint to the project! Hurray!

Another group made a plan for selling notecards of their past artwork in order to raise money for the cost of this mural project. And another team went to measure the wall itself and take pictures of it.

Finally, Willie Mae Wright, came to visit. You can see her seated in red and surrounded by some of the Youth Art Team. Willie Mae has lived in her house in the neighborhood for 47 years! She lives in a house directly across from the wall we'll be painting, and when asked what message she hoped the mural spoke, she mentioned that it should definitely be something with children in it. Why? Because the children are the future and the ones we should focus on as they grow to lead our communities.

The children also discussed words and feelings that they hope to speak through the mural. Love, hope, peace, exciting, fun, joy, God. I can't wait to see this mural they create!

We ended with 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" As we prepare in this Lenten/Easter season to pass from old to new in Christ, we also anticipate a wall made new in Christ through the hands, hearts, and imaginations of the Youth Art Team. Check out to keep updated!