Ministry Updates

Holiday Ministry Update!

I hope that this letter finds you well as you recover from the Thanksgiving feast and look forward to the Advent season, Christmas, and the new year, which all seem to be appearing just above the horizon. It is a joyous time for sure, and I truly hope that you have the opportunity to give thanks, rejoice, and spend time with close friends and family during this season.

The premier thing that God has been revealing to me throughout my time spent support raising thus far is his faithfulness to his promises. I have learned patience and trust and am continuing to learn dependence and desperation for the Lord in prayer. Ultimately, I have learned how to trust him as the righteous, covenantal, and faithful God – and for this I am extremely thankful.

I think that God reveals to us similar aspects of his character as we reflect on the incarnation this advent. I have been reading Deuteronomy and Joshua lately and in Joshua 21:45 it reads “Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled”. God is the one who made the covenant with Abraham, chose Israel to be his people for the sake of the nations, rescued Israel from Egypt, and gave them the land that he had promised them. God was utterly faithful to Israel in these ways and ultimately we see God’s faithfulness in the face of Christ. Israel often waited waveringly for this promise to become a reality, but God was of course faithful to this promise and Paul says it best when he writes “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:20).  All the promises that we long to be fulfilled are met in the Christ who came in human form.

I am so thankful for the gift of Jesus. God has given generously in Jesus and we can only respond with thanksgiving and rejoicing. I hope and pray that joy and celebration of the incarnation are characteristic of your advent season this year.

I am thankful and captivated as I recall this reality, but also burdened when I contemplate all the false promises that our culture feeds young people. College students tend to gravitate towards all the counterfeit promises that our culture promotes . Our culture promises life through the mediums of sex, power, and greed, but these created things were never intended to be faithful to those promises. It is only when we lose our life that we find the abundant life hidden within the majesty of the Messiah and it is this trustworthy promise that I hope to promote as I respond to God’s call in my life to give my life away to college students.

ERIN’S STORY

I am consistently reminded of God’s covenant faithfulness to his people as I hear about God’s power in the lives of the students I know and care about. One of these students who our congregation recently heard from is a woman from New Zealand named Erin Hawe. Here is some of Erin’s story that reminds me why we do what we do:

Freshman year, one of my teammates encouraged me to attend H20 with her. I didn’t know anything about Jesus but out of love for my teammate Sarah, I started attending. It was a challenging time but by the end of Fall semester I was so compelled by the life & love of Jesus and the kindness extended to me by his people, I ‘gave my life’ to Christ. The next two years of my life here, despite having ‘given’ my life to Christ I wasn’t living in such a way that suggested what Jesus said was actually true. – I was deeply lonely, and so often led by my feelings – I thoroughly exhausted everything that presented immediate gratification; namely drugs and sex…I was made so aware of my impuissance, my brokenness and need for a Savior.  And so patiently in the midst of my wandering, God so gently asking me if I lacked anything. He placed an in-escapable truth at the forefront of my mind, which was the reality of the hurt and need and suffering of close to 30 million of my neighbor’s worldwide who are held as modern-day slaves. He lay on my heart the testimonies and stories of the oppressed, the brutal realities of their lives in brick factories, in rice mills, forced by the share power of violence to work on fishing boats or as slaves in the sex trade; with girls as young as five and six, who are sold and raped for profit. And this brought me to my knees both in repentance and prayer. I don’t think that God gives us an appetite in vain; I knew that He was calling me higher. I heard about the work of International Justice Mission, this group of Christians who with noble hearts follow Jesus into the darkest places of the world to shine His love – by seeking justice, rescuing the oppressed, defending the orphan and pleading for the widow. I’ve been fortunate enough to secure an internship with International Justice Mission next year, serving for a year in their Bangalore field office in India. I believe I have been given this opportunity not because my heart is so awesome, but because I serve an awesome God of justice, who is ready to move in power, if I am willing to move in obedience.

These are the stories and the reasons that continually convince and captivate my heart for the ministry that God has called me into. I am convinced of God’s utter faithfulness in the Messiah and I am captivated by stories like Erin’s that exemplify God’s faithfulness to his people. Stories like Erin’s remind me that God truly is Immanuel even as we go out into the world to make disciples of all nations. This season I am utterly thankful that God has called me into ministry alongside you and I hope and pray that you are as captivated by this call as I am.

God has been providing for me in amazing ways as I am actively in the process of full-time fundraising. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! As the end of the year approaches, I am so thankful to God for providing people like you to support GCM on my behalf! However, I still have unmet needs that I wanted to ask you to prayerfully consider:

  • A special year-end gift. An additional gift of $500, $300, or $100 is a tremendous blessing at the close of the year to help cover some of the lacking funds from 2013.
  • Increasing your regular giving amount. I still need to raise an additional $1,500 in new monthly support to be fully funded.
  • Giving via LifeLink. If you give regularly by mail, would you consider a switch to this automatic and secure service? It saves on administrative costs, ensuring that more goes to gospel work.

Any of the above can be accomplished at www.gcmweb.org/anthony.giambroni or check out the enclosed slip for further instructions. As always (but even more so now during the holiday season), I am so thankful for your heart for our church and His Kingdom! Your prayers and financial support help make stories like Erin’s possible!

With Love, Anthony

October Ministry Update

Greetings from Kent, Ohio! I absolutely love this time of year in Ohio. Can you relate? I revel the sweatshirt weather, the vibrant colors, and that I get to drink excessive amounts of tea and coffee! I have thoroughly enjoyed this season and I am already begin to grieve the nearness of the unpredictable nature of Ohio winters. Alas, I suppose winter is not so bad, after all I still get to drink lots of hot drinks!

Our church has had a lot going on this past month including celebrating our five year anniversary as a church plant on Kent’s campus. The five years have flown by and we have seen God do some amazing things during these years. We dedicated one of our services to remembering and reflecting on the major moments in our church’s story at the end of September. We also prayed together and looked to the future for what God might ask us to do! In fact, we are in the midst of one of these major stepping-stones as H2O Kent becomes a sending church to our new plant at University of Akron!

As I have written before, we are in the midst of laying the foundations for a church plant at Akron. On Tuesday nights we hold a Life Group at Akron’s student union and around 10-15 Akron students have been consistently coming around. In addition, one of the most encouraging aspects is that we have five students from Kent who are committed to Akron as their ministry alongside a couple of our staff members. Every Tuesday they drive to Akron to have Bible Study and serve the beginnings of this church!

I wrote last time about our annual Fall getaway and asked you to pray for our time there as well. I am glad to say that our Fall Getaway was well attended and extremely encouraging to all. H2O Pittsburgh and H2O Akron joined Kent in this getaway and together we heard from Ball State Pastor, Carl Frost. Carl spoke about the destruction of sin in our world and how God is making “all things new” in Christ. It was truly wonderful and it was encouraging to see students worshipping the Lord in spirit in truth as shown below.

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It has been seemingly slow in regard to support raising this past month, but I am thankful for God’s apparent faithfulness in the process. I am at 52% of my full-time goal currently. I am so thankful for how God is raising support on my behalf, even if it is painfully slow at times.

While this season of life has remained difficult for me, I am still utterly convinced that God is using this time to prepare me for ministry. As much as I want to move on from this season of full-time support raising and into full-time ministry, I simultaneously want to soak in whatever God wants to teach me during this time. I trust what God has for me is for my good!

I am so thankful for you all who are committed to me and supporting me in so many ways. I never will be able to thank you enough, but I hope you know how appreciated you are!

September Ministry Update!

Hello from Kent, Ohio! It is rather obvious that school has begun in Kent if you pay attention to a few key signs. You will know that the advent the fall semester has begun when you notice that 1) an increase in traffic has occurred, 2) downtown is louder than it once was, and 3) students are walking to class in a zombie-like stupor with their p.j.’s still on in the wee hours of the morning. It is funny, but oh so true.

Since the moment students have been pouring through the gates of Kent State our church has been there to meet as many as possible through a myriad of different opportunities. Suffice it to say that our last month has been exhausting and yet very envisioning!

The busiest time of year is by far what we have come to call blitz week. This is when the 4,000+ freshman arrive on campus and our job as a church begins with engaging as many students as possible. I was very encouraged to be able to help during this week even though I am support raising full-time right now. This week is so demanding that it is imperative that we have all hands on deck, so to speak. In general, our hope is to have a potent presence on campus at the dozens of events that the university plans.

Our church engaged students in a lot of different ways. We had a dodgeball tournament, endless games of corn-hole and ultimate frisbee, a tailgate party, a contest to win goldfish, spiritual surveys through which students could win free pizza, and so much more! We were everywhere on campus during that week. Our staff is especially thankful to our student volunteers who gave so much during this week in order to make all we did possible.

This year we saw:

  • 7,000+ H2O discount cards given away
  • 1,200+ spiritual surveys completed
  • 500 freshman followed up with
  • 70 freshman attend our first service
  • 30+ enter our membership class (The Well)

We are so thankful to see what God has done in us and through us as we have given ourselves to the new students at KSU. I hope you are too!

This week was a jolt to my system so that I was able to go back to support raising with a certain spring in my step. I was refreshed with being able to do some ministry and once again be  reminded of the reason that I decided to raise support in the first place. I am still captivated by God’s call in my life to give my life away to young people for the sake of the gospel. I hope and pray that you are still captivated by that vision as well.

I have since returned to full-time support raising and have been regularly encouraged by God’s provision through this process. It is undeniable to me that God is sustaining me financially and emotionally. The verse from the Psalms above is one that I have been meditating on lately (along with the verses surrounding it). Support raising has reminded me of my overall neediness before the Lord. I need to trust Him for everything, because I know being a Christian means that I cannot do anything on my own.

Thankfully, I am beginning to turn a major corner in my support raising process. I am extremely close to having 50% of my total goal raised. This is such a tremendous blessing to me! I could not be more excited about how God is providing opportunities and putting people in my path who are receptive. Knowing that you are with me in this process is a great encouragement. Thank you for your prayers and financial support. This would not be possible without you!!! 

Your brother in the gospel, Anthony

August Ministry Update!

Greetings from Kent, Ohio! It is hard for me to believe that school is soon to commence at Kent State and even harder to believe that I will no longer be attending classes as an undergraduate. That ship has sailed, my friends. I am excited and yet slightly discouraged as this fall semester unfolds because I know that I will not be able to have the same involvement in ministry until I have completed this season of support raising. I will be helping out some, but most of my time will indeed be given to continuing to raise support full-time.

Our 3-day staff retreat is just a few days away. Please be praying for me and our staff on the 13th-15th of August. We will take time to reconnect as a team, cast vision, and pray for the fall semester that is upon us! We would really appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

Also, our annual LEAD retreat is the week after next and we have 30+  students attending. The Lead retreat will be composed of further vision casting, prayer, and time for our students and staff to reconnect and gear up for the 4,000+ freshman that will arrive on campus the day we arrive back from LEAD retreat. Would you partner with us in prayer for our community and our student leaders this upcoming school year?

One of the most important times of year for us consists of five days known as “Blitz Week”. This week precedes the beginning of the fall semester and is an initiation for the new freshman to campus. We are very busy during this week in attempts to meet new students. Please pray for this week during the end of August that God would grant us divine appointments through which He might reveal Himself. Pray this for our church and other ministries on campus as well!

I, along with my two roommates, Kyle and Andrew, are still getting settled in at our new place on Crain Avenue and are very much enjoying it! I am also still recovering from two trips that I went on in July that left me feeling somewhat discombobulated. Even so, I am extremely thankful that God has still worked on my behalf despite my lack of effort. I received a few new ministry partners this month. I am so thankful as I recall those moments of God’s faithfulness.

Two verses that have encouraged me greatly in the recent weeks has been Ecclesiastes 11:5&6:

As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good

Two things I have taken from these verses and started to mull over:  First, I can trust that God is working, but I cannot expect to understand why or how. Second, I must learn to be a faithful steward in light of that mystery to plant seeds in myself and in others. Thankful for this reminder and glad to share it with you.

I still have much to raise and unfortunately I am not in a significantly better place than when I wrote you last. Currently, I have raised 43% of my goal. I will continue to thank you for being with me in this process and praying for me. I need your prayers and your support. If the Lord leads you, please consider connecting me with other likeminded people. This is my greatest need as of late. Also, please consider increasing your support if you feel led! Thank you for all you do! 

In Christ, Anthony

July Ministry Update

I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.-Ps. 40:1

Greetings from Kent, Ohio! I am encouraged as I sit down to write you, because when I do, I am strengthened as I recall your partnership in the gospel. I am learning so much through the fruit and the trials of support raising and I am consistently thankful for those of you who are already supporting in prayer and in resources. It is a great source of courage for me to call to mind those of you who have been with me from the beginning.

First, I must share with you the most recent news, which is that I have officially moved to 218 Crain Ave. Unit A, Kent, Oh 44240. It was a surprise to have moved this early, but unfortunately our old apartment had some flooding issues. Thus we had to abandon ship prematurely, and thankfully, our new place was just about ready. So, in light of this change, please refer to the above address as my current and primary address for any uses you may have for it.

In other, and perhaps more interesting news,  our church is in the middle of studying the book of Acts and becoming increasingly inspired by it! A number of our students are being given great opportunities to apply what they are learning through outreach opportunities with internationals, co-workers, and some of them are even getting opportunities to meet incoming freshman that will arrive for good in the Fall! Our staff team is in the midst planning for our annual LEAD retreat  for our student leaders in the middle of August and for our staff retreat at the beginning of August. Please be praying for these two events!

I have been learning a lot in the past month since I have written you last. You may have gathered from the Psalm that I have learning about patience. For a support raiser, patience seems appropriate, right? The natural assumption would be that I am learning to be patient with not being fully supported, but it is not all that I mean when I refer to patience.

I think patience is the language of trust, and perhaps this is why our culture hardly considers this a virtue any longer. God is teaching me a patience, a trust, and an endurance that is refining my character deeply. I am finding that I need only to take my hands off my life to allow him to work.

Also,  I am realizing that support raising calls me to a particular hiddenness that wars against my attempts to manufacture an identity built around the affirmation that comes from others when visible in ministry. God is teaching me a faithfulness and a deep trust that is sustained by Him alone through the crucible of support raising. It reminds me of what Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount about fasting (Matt. 5:15-18). God is using support raising more ways than I ever thought possible.

I still have a little over $2800 a month to raise and I am continually overwhelmed with how difficult this road will be, but I trust that somehow God is making his appeal through me in this process. Please again consider partnering with me in prayer, increased monthly support, or most importantly connecting me with other like-minded people! Thank you for all you do, and for being with me in this process!

Thank you so much for bearing with me in this process. I appreciate you and am thankful for your trust in God on my behalf. I hope that this letter serves as a source of encouragement to you as well!  Take a look at my prayer card to know ways to be praying!

Your brother, Anthony

Prayer Requests:

  • Please pray that God would connect me to more people over the next few months who are receptive to what He is doing in and through our church (Ecclesiastes 11:5&6)
  • Please pray for my phone calls that I make five nights a week-that God would grant me opportunity to meet with people through those phone calls.
  • Pray for our my emotional and spiritual health in this support raising process-that God would sustain me and that I would be fixated on him for comfort and peace.
  • Please pray for our church and that God would mature our people, and inspire them in ministry for the fall.