Blog Archives: admin
Highland and Eternal Threads partner for work in Nepal
Thanks to Linda Egle and the work that Eternal Threads does to restore the world!
Highland mentors students looking to get their GED
Highland partnered with Abilene ISD to help pair students who are trying to get their GED with mentors. Three students who were paired with mentors from Highland graduated with their GED. This is the story of two of those students. We are so proud of the work they've done.
A Letter from Joyce Dalzell about Faithworks and Restoration
Joyce Dalzell, director of Faithworks
Highland,  

I wanted to take a minute to update you on the lives touched by the generous gift that FaithWorks received from Highland last April.  

FaithWorks is a 13 week, a pretty intense and structured 13 week, 37+ hours per week –career development training program for chronically unemployed and underemployed adults in the Abilene community.  It is very relational.  It is very whole-person.  For thirteen weeks we are together, and we celebrate our 500 hours together with a weekday evening graduation ceremony with 150+ in attendance and a Sunday morning blessing time with five or six times that in attendance.  

And then the student leaves the structure and the relationships and the meals and the morning devotional and the encouraging words . . .  

Our focus for 2013 and 2014 is to be better at weeks 14-52.  We are restructuring our monthly Thursday evening dinners for this group.  We are reading Daring Greatly together.  We pay for individual counseling for the student for a full year. And we are looking at ways that we need to transition them out of some of the great resources that we provide over the 13 weeks – instead of suddenly dropping them.  

A safe place to live continues to be one of the important components of successful employment.  In 2013 we were able to assist three students with rental assistance for a season, thanks to the gift from Highland Church of Christ. We are using a formal signed rental agreement patterned after what CitySquare in Dallas uses.  

Two of the students were single moms.  One was able to be reunited with her 18 year old college freshman son because she now has a home.  She is employed full time.   In addition, we were able to move a single mom with three kids out of an abusive situation and give her a safe place to live.  This student has bounced around various fast food establishment jobs since her graduation from FaithWorks in August.  Just this month she is finally employed in her choice career, dentistry,  although she is still employed part time by one of the Rosa’s.  She pays her first month’s rent on her own in February. The third student is male, single and in recovery.  Our rental assistance paid his weekly rent at an Abilene transitional house for five or six weeks.  

I believe with my whole heart that Highland’s gift allowed FaithWorks to provide a safety “bridge” to these three families.  Thanks to Highland.  Thanks to your role in making this happen.  

Many blessings,  

Joyce Dalzell
Highland is a Debt-Free Church!
In 1999 Highland took on debt to build the atrium, classrooms and offices. Thanks to your generosity during the Called campaign and commitment to God's vision for this Church, Highland has paid off that debt. We are celebrating the freedom to go where God calls us to go.
Restoration Vision Helps Eternal Threads Rescue Women from Sexual Slavery
Highland leaders presented Eternal Threads with $10,000 in funding from Highland’s Called Campaign on April 21 as one of the initiatives of Highland’s vision to restore Highland, Abilene and the world.

Eternal Threads, an Abilene-based non-profit that helps women in impoverished countries earn a sustainable income by buying their handmade products, also provides vocational training in tailoring and cosmetology in Afghanistan and Nepal. The gift from the Highland Called Campaign will be used to help support the work that Eternal Threads does in Nepal to rescue girls from sex-trafficking by funding two anti-trafficking border stations and a safe house.

“We are so very grateful for this gift from the members of the Highland church,” said Linda Egle, founder of Eternal Threads. “Knowing that you are partnering with us in this work is such an encouragement, and the lives we will restore are precious in the kingdom.”

Ramesh Sapkota, Eternal Threads partner in Nepal, was also at Highland as the check was presented and spoke at a fundraising dinner that weekend.

At one of the Nepal border stations, more than 200 girls are interviewed by the staff each month, and as many as 10-15 are rescued. After being identified and taken out of the trafficking situation, the girls return to their home village or to a safe house where they receive counseling and vocation training, Egle said. After six months to a year in the safe house, they are able to open their own tailoring business in their home villages.

Based on requests from women in Afghanistan, Eternal Threads is also looking to expand opportunities in that country, providing additional tailoring courses and training for beauticians, as well as scholarships for the children of the women in the courses to attend school.
Auditorium Renovations Take Place Over Next Year
IMG_1_ssPlans to renovate the Highland auditorium are underway, with a projected completion date of August 2014. Elders and senior leadership have assembled an Auditorium Renovation Team, which includes Highland members with expertise in fields related to the project, with meetings to begin this month, said executive minister Ben Siburt.

The team is tasked with considering traffic flow, variety of usage, comfort, experience, aesthetics and current audio-video technology as it decides how to replace seating, carpet, paint, among other changes.

The process will be as transparent as possible, Siburt said.

“Our hope is that as soon as we can, for example, pick new chairs, there will be pictures of the new chairs on the wall,” he said.

The Called Campaign leadership team waited until the project could be funded without incurring debt before agreeing to move forward, Siburt said. The projected budget for the renovation is about $600,000.

Since the beginning of the Called Campaign, Highland has paid roughly half of the $972,000 remaining from previous capital projects; the debt now stands at $481,329.96. The church could choose to pay the balance by the end of this year or extend payments through the next two years.

“We didn’t feel like we could go into more debt while we’re trying to pay off debt,” Siburt said. “We’ll be paying as we go.”

Although the auditorium at first blush seems internally focused, Highland leaders see it as a way for the physical worship space to project a more welcoming atmosphere for visitors from the surrounding community, said elder Roland Orr.

The projected schedule for the auditorium renovation is as follows, with dates remaining subject to change:

June-November 2013: Planning and pricing
December 2013: Final plan approval
January-March 2014: Permitting and preparation
April-July 2014: Renovation
August 2014: Renovation completion
Restoration Vision Implementation
prayer picMore than two years after Highland’s elders, ministers and other members began the process of discerning a new vision for the church, that vision is in various stages of implementation, now led by a nine-member team. A Restoration Movement: A Ten Year Vision of the Highland Church of Christ was presented in 2012 and called for all members of the Highland church to partner with God in 15 initiatives to restore Highland, Abilene and the world. Highland members in November gave or pledged $3.42 million over the next three years as part of the Called Campaign, and in January, the elders approved an implementation plan that included the appointment of a leadership team. Vision Implementation Leadership Team members are Ben Siburt (chairman), Royce Curtis, Jennifer Green, Jim Litton, Roland Orr, Alan Porter, Diane Rose, Gus White and David Wray. Some of the initiatives included in the Called Campaign have already received their funds for the first year, and others will be distributed as campaign commitments are fulfilled. “Because most of the commitments are three-year pledges, implementing the funding of various initiatives has to be managed relative to cash inflow,” Orr said. “Managing the cash inflow and outflow is one of the responsibilities of the Vision Implementation Leadership Team.”
Jonathan talks with Gabe Lyons
Jonathan sat down with Gabe Lyons, author of Unchristian and The Next Christians, to talk about restoration, the early church and why the idea of restoration is vital to reaching the next generation of Christians. Gabe's books are available on amazon or in your local bookstore.
Libby VanHouten
Libby went into a mission trip to Denver with some preconceived notions about the people she would be working with. As the week went on, and she got to know the homeless people of Denver, those preconceived notions fell apart. The next year in Chicago, Libby put her newfound love for the homeless into action.
Rosario and Faithworks
Rosario's life had begun to spiral out of control after her mother passed away in 1996. A life of drugs and running had left her with few options. She moved to Abilene with her daughters, and found Faithworks. Faithworks helped Rosario find her feet again. She's now been working as a certified welder for two years and is closer than ever to her two beautiful daughters. We are so proud of Rosario. Her life is a walking testimony to the power of God's restoration.