I was stuck, frustrated, cold, wet, and frankly – DONE!
We were on a family road trip, and in true Gokee fashion, something random happened to our car and I was stuck trying to fix it.
To make matters worse, the moment our car broke down, the heavens had opened up with Biblical proportions of freezing cold rain and wind. People were running into stores like it was the “end of days,” and here I was trying to fix our car so we could get back on the road. I had banned my family to the car in fear that my “creative language” would cause them to stumble… and then my 17-year-old son appeared.“Dad, I’m here to help,” Ben said.
The good dad in me told him, “Ben, get in the car; it’s freezing cold. I’ve got this.”
“It’s ok; I just want to stay here and help,” he said.
“Ben, get in the car – it’s fine,” I stubbornly repeated.
He persisted: “Dad, I’m staying here with you. I don’t want you to be alone.”
Finally, I got it: “Thanks, buddy. Hand me that screwdriver.”
In the middle of the cold, rainy conditions and as I found myself deep in frustration, I didn’t realize how much I needed him there. Thankfully, I quickly realized that his presence and availability provided a hope that I didn’t realize I needed.
As the Serve Pastor at Hillside, I had the awesome opportunity to travel to both India and Kenya in a single trip in January. As exhausting as it might sound, bouncing from one continent to another in a relatively short amount of time, the trip was so worth it. Our goal was to capture what God has been doing through our Global Partners.In India, we went to a remote village where Harvest India has built a children’s home. In Kenya, I had the opportunity of praying over every room at the Living Room Ministry’s new hospice. We also went to a village called Cherengani with Empowering Lives International to meet the reformed brewers who have come to know Jesus and are transforming their community.
In each of these places, I saw what tangible hope looks and feels like. Like my rainy road trip experience alongside my son, I saw what it meant for the people of Africa and India to know there were people in their corner – praying for them, loving them and supporting them.Though you might not have been physically present with me on this trip, some of you were still there. I personally got to see your generosity in action, changing lives and making a MASSIVE Kingdom impact. Over the course of our 40-year history, the people of Hillside have stepped up in a huge way through sacrificial and generous giving. What a privilege it is to be a part of the work God is doing through these ministries!
Our church is not just the two buildings represented here in Southern California. WE are the church. Though we might reside here, we get to be present in far off villages in Kenya and India. Our support gets to live on and share God through the ministry work that happens in facilities that YOUR generosity built. Our partners feel loved and known by us – and we’re just getting started!Whether it’s a patient that’s receiving care, an orphan who has a chance to be fed and educated, or an abandoned brewer who now is empowered to change herself and her family, hope has a name and it’s JESUS! We have a great responsibility to share this hope – whether it’s right here in our homes, workplaces or neighborhoods, or it’s across the world on different continents.
Hope makes all the difference and comes in many different forms. For some of you, it’s going on a short-term trip, and for others, it’s engaging through financial contributions. Either way, YOU’RE IN IT with them.
It was a privilege to tell our partners and the people of India and Kenya that there is a church in Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana, California (our village) praying and being present with them (their village). What we do here – both in word and in deed – makes a MASSIVE difference in the lives of those right here in our own backyard and also around the world.Our vision is: “To see God’s hope transform our cities… one story at a time!” This movement of hope is happening in our church, in our local cities and around the world- you do not want to miss out!
By Jeff Gokee
Hillside Serve Pastor