From our Home to Yours…
I want to wish you all a blessed holiday season. It was ten years ago this season that God began to work in the hearts of my wife and I…that He wanted us in Rockford, Illinois to work in the ministry of Reformers Unanimous. As I look back over the years, I am amazed at the hand of God in this ministry. It is absolutely a privilege to watch His miraculous hand as He transforms lives, families, and even ministries. I am simply humbled to be a small part of His ministry.
It is with this thought that I want to thank you for your dedication and service to our Saviour in Reformers Unanimous. I know what you give….the time, the money, the love, the longsuffering, the tears, and in some cases, the whole life. Though at times, you may feel like no one notices, please realize that He does! (Matthew 25:45)
Sometimes my wife tells me that people come up to her and say things like, “Oh, my, how do you stand your husband traveling all the time? Isn’t it hard on your family to be gone so much?” She admits that sometimes she, as a wife, wishes that I was there…but really, she considers it an honor. David Livingston said, “Why do we consider a commission from an earthly king as an honor, but a commission from a Heavenly King as a sacrifice?”
We, the Burks’ family, are honored to serve our Saviour in the ministry of Reformers Unanimous, and we hope you are too!
Helping People through Difficult Times during the Holidays…
The holiday season is definitely the coldest of the year here in Rockford, Illinois, with temperatures frequently diving below zero. In other parts of the world like Africa, Christmas time offers a summer-like atmosphere, with comfortable weather. Likewise, for many people, the holiday season brings warmth to their hearts and enrichment to their lives. However, for some less fortunate folks, the holiday season is bitter cold, because of the absence of family or friends to enjoy it with. This ambiguous season creates a unique opportunity for us to encourage and minister to people. You can help people through difficult times this holiday season in three specific ways:
1. Promote personal family time. Encourage everyone to carve out special time to spend with their families outside of the normal routine. The strength of any church is often a reflection of the strength of the families within it, and the same is true with our chapters. Weak families will always make up weak chapters. Families brought closer through time spent together will make up unified chapters with a loving, accepting atmosphere.
2. Praise people for their faithfulness. Attendance in your chapter will likely be down during the holidays, especially during the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Don’t allow this to discourage you or curb your enthusiasm. Rather than dwelling on the absence of those who normally show up, focus on the attendance of those who remain faithful during the holiday season. A simple remark such as: “Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to be here tonight,” or “I appreciate the obvious priority you have placed on the Lord during this busy time of year,” may be exactly what someone, who may be struggling, needs to hear.
3. Ponder past blessings of God’s goodness. Right meditations are crucial during this time of the year. More depression resulting in suicide happens in this season than any other. Therefore, we must be proactive at pointing folks to the right things to think on. Consider having a 1st Talk centered around “Ways God has been Good to you this Past Year.” Start it off with your own recollection of God’s goodness to you personally. Psalm 77b, “…but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.”
Bring some “warmth” to someone’s heart this season!
Statistics from the US Justice Department
It is my desire to communicate to you information that I find that can help you and others as you reach the addicted in your communities. Of course, no one doubts that the needs in our nation are great. Hardly a week goes by that I do not hear from someone, “Our city is the drug capital of the world.” Truly, Satan has many bound.
Below is a report that some of our staff members put together to show the high demand for our ministry within our area. Doing this helps us to stay informed of the great need for our ministry. Doing similar research will help you to do specialized target advertising in your community.
In Illinois, Chicago is the area with the largest drug trafficking and abuse. 80% of drug users are addicted to cocaine or crack cocaine. Of that 80%, more than half are 31-40 years old, and 35% of them have been using drugs for 5-10 years. Marijuana remains the most readily available and abused drug in Illinois. Heroin also presents a threat because of the increase in availability and purity. Methamphetamine continues to be produced in rural areas. Chicago continues to be one of the nation’s largest drug markets.
In Wisconsin, Milwaukee is the area where drugs are rampant. This is because of its international airport and close proximity to Chicago. Cocaine is the most abused drug.
In Indiana, drugs prevail in the Lake County area. This is the part of Indiana that is next to Chicago. Cocaine is the most significant drug threat, with methamphetamine posing a close second. Marijuana is the most widely available. Heroin abuse has been increasing, but is limited to the most populated areas of the state.
In Ohio, it is the Cuyahoga, Fairfield, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Lucas, Mahoning, Montgomery, Stark, Summit, and Warren Counties. The distribution and abuse of cocaine pose the greatest threat in this state; however, heroin is expected to surpass cocaine within the near future.
In Michigan, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo are the primary drug markets in the region. Detroit, the largest and most influential drug market in Michigan, is connected to Canada by the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. The Ambassador Bridge is the world’s busiest commercial border crossing. Illicit drugs, particularly high-potency Canadian marijuana and ecstasy, are transported to Detroit from Canada; in return cocaine and bulk currency derived from U.S. drug sales are smuggled back into Canada. Cocaine, particularly crack cocaine, poses the most significant drug threat in Michigan; the distribution and abuse of the drug have a profound impact on law enforcement and public health resources. The trafficking and abuse of other drugs, such as heroin, marijuana, MDMA, and pharmaceuticals, pose persistent threats within the HIDTA region as well. The availability and abuse of heroin appear to be increasing in the Detroit and Flint areas, particularly among young Caucasian abusers. Heroin abuse among high school students in the Kalamazoo area also appears to be increasing. Marijuana is readily available and widely abused; commercial-grade Mexican marijuana is the most prevalent type in the region, but high-potency Canadian and locally produced marijuana are also available. Canadian marijuana and ecstasy transit the Detroit area destined for other U.S. drug markets; however, some is retained in the region for local distribution and abuse.
This information was obtained from the website of the US Justice Department. It includes the five states surrounding our area. It is my desire to see a RU chapter in every town! Please pray with me as God continues to open doors.
Reformers Unanimous Men’s & Women’s Discipleship Homes
Praise the Lord! On November 20, 2011, we had 14 graduates from our Discipleship homes. Our graduate numbers have consistently increased each month and we look forward to a new year of even more success! We hope you will please keep our students and leadership in your prayers.
We currently have openings in the homes, so if you know anyone who may need our help here in Rockford, please contact our Admissions Coordinator, Donnie Barnes at (815) 968-0460 or email at [email protected]
I do ask that you would be in prayer for me as I travel during the holiday season and into the New Year. Below are the upcoming locations:
Liberty Baptist Church
Newport Beach, CA
Bible Baptist Church
Peoples Liberty Baptist
Valley Forge Baptist Temple
Regional Training Conference
Bethany Baptist Church
Traveler’s Rest, SC