Restore the World Overview

Highland’s global ministries revolve around partnering with God in four initiatives, with a vision of making a substantial and long-lasting impact in four contexts.  

  • Restoring the World by Welcoming the Homeless in Brazil
    • Highland partners with Crescimento Limpo in Itu, Brazil in the work of welcoming the homeless
    • Highland supports missionaries, Antenor and Phyllis Goncalves, and the work of the Itu Church of Christ
  • Restoring the World by Combating Trafficking in Southeast Asia
    • Highland partners with Urban Light and Eden Ministries, two organizations that work to prevent sex-trafficking so prevelant in the area
    • Highland supports missionaries, Ryan and Ning Binkley, and their work with the Chung Doi Church of Christ in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
  • Restoring the World by Making Peace in the Muslim-Majority World
    • Highland partners with the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Lebanon, supporting the Institute of Middle East Studies (IMES), particularly the initiative called “Khebz W Meleh” (Bread and Salt) Peacebuilding initiative.
  • Restoring the World by Restoring Highland
    • Highland will work to develop avenues through which its members can use their gifts and talents for the sake of God’s mission in the world and be transformed more fully into the image of Christ

Highland Partners respond during COVID-19

Highland joins the whole world in grieving the loss caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic and yet we are thankful for the ways our Restore the World partners shine light in the midst of this darkness.  We find unity across the world in facing the realities of the pandemic and this time reminds us we are always unified in doing kingdom work to join God in the restoration of all things.

Following are updates from our global partners, particularly with regard to how they are providing humanitarian aid during the pandemic.


Restoring the World by Welcoming the Homeless in Brazil

Crescimento Limpo

Mark and Ali Kaiser, the founders of Crescimento Limpo, say that it is always important to invest in Kingdom works. We partner with them in Brazil because of all the faithful ways they invest in kingdom work in Itu, Brazil, and we are thankful for all the wonderful returns God brings from those investments. Everyone that lives at Crescimento Limpo is seen as a child of God with gifts and skills to use in works of restoration. Seeing all people the way that God sees them allows their work to grow in effective and creative ways. Highland wants to work in Abilene to end systemic homlessness in our city, and Crescimento Limpo is living out the same vision in Itu. Their work gives people a home, a family, meaningful work in their garden and cafe, and at their farm. Most importantly, their kingdom investment allows everyone they serve to see their place in God’s loving story of restoration. 

To learn more about the the story of Crescimento Limpo and see an update on how the work is being adapted during the pandemic, watch the video below.

Itu CHurch of Christ

Antenor and Phyllis Gonclaves send Highland their report and words of encouragement in the video below.

  

An excerpt from an April 6, 2020 report from Mark Kaiser:

“For people serving on the frontlines, this is both a sprint AND a marathon.

We are in a sprint to get ready for the massive danger that is moving in fast. OuR response has been to prepare two new types of housing: de-concentration shelters and isolation housing.  Interestingly enough, Crescimento Limpo had prepared to offer for-rent housing in 2020 for residents transitioning out of our halfway house; which means we were well positioned to adapt our plans and meet the immediate needs of this crisis. This was a good reminder of the God who goes before us and comes behind us.

Our halfway house held 18 residents when Itu's time of quarantine began. We were able to prepare a second house as our de-concentration shelter. Six residents made the move to this new facility, and one resident returned to his family, reducing the occupancy at our downtown location to 11 residents.

We are currently working to create isolation housing. We were in the process of remodeling an existing space behind our original halfway house to create two small lofts. That construction continues, but with a different purpose nowadays; in two weeks we hope to have space available for the isolation of sick individuals, where they can recover and receive the needed care.

So now begins the marathon. We are relearning how to minister to our friends in these new days. We shuttle residents from the house to our farm where they can breathe new air and feel productive, since pursuing employment isn't possible. Our team works an adjusted "check-in" schedule in order to continue to accompany and care for our residents, now in two locations, while protecting ourselves. I am using movies (I would love to have your movie suggestions) with positive messages as a therapeutic tool to generate content for the conversations we have at the Casas CL. Sunday mornings I watch our online church service with our CL residents as a way of keeping our connection to our church family.

This virus will bring difficulty for the foreseen future, for all of us, in every area. We know that as our expenses just went up, the income security of our donor base just went down, and everybody is dealing with this same crisis in their own extremely personal way.

We count on a God that is bigger than this crisis. We take our lead from Jesus who lived a life of humble service even to the point of death, and beyond. We will get through this. May we all find His peace as we walk the road that we find ourselves on today.”


Restoring the World by Combating Trafficking in Southeast Asia

Urban Light

Highland supports and works with Urban Light in Chiang Mai Thailand. Highland believes that Christians are called to live as restorers in our world of need. We are thankful for the ways Urban Light sees a need and actively and courageously works to help young boys and men in Thailand. Urban Light lives out the mission found in their name and serves as a constant source of light and hope for young boys and men exploited to make profit in places of darkness. We partner with their work because we want to join God in shining light that helps these boys in need, and illuminates a vision of God’s restoration where darkness does not enslave and profit from young boys. 

To learn more about the story of Urban Light, watch the video below.

COVID-19 forced Urban Light to temporarily close its drop-in center for the boys it serves. Highland responded by directing funds toward an emergency food and health kit distribution program in Chiang Mai. Click the button below to read a report regarding these funds.

Urban Light report


Eden/New Hope Ministries 

On March 28, 2020 Soren Samuelson, co-founder of Eden Ministries, writes in an email to Highland:

“With confirmed cases of covid-19 in Yangon, we have seen panic strike the city. Markets and pharmacies are overrun as people stock up on daily and crisis essentials through fear of a lock down and drain of supplies. Factories, schools and markets are already closing, meaning many people are out of work. Most of these people are living day to day, with no savings and no alternative income, and therefore unable to afford food or medical supplies. This desperation will cause a significant increase in human trafficking, child labour, and abuse and exploitation unless they are provided for by other means.

Here at New Hope and Eden, we have been preparing for such a situation over the past few weeks. We are producing 36,000 reusable masks in our centers, providing not only some protection for the communities but also income for those making them. We are also making 16,000 bottles of soap and information leaflets to be distributed. The information provided advises on hand hygiene, wearing masks and cleaning food. We are also giving out the local new hope community centre phone number which can be called if anyone is displaying symptoms of the virus or has any concerns. We have purchased medication to be given out to symptomatic people who contact the centre, including paracetamol for both adults and children, rehydration salts, antibiotics for secondary bacterial infections and personal protective equipment for our staff. We are preparing and educating our staff on how to help people manage the virus and when to seek further medical attention. We will also be giving out food, and have already sourced 40,000 meals.

We are hoping to be able to provide care for these people for the duration of this pandemic and beyond, to help stabilize the community in the aftermath.

  

  

Highland funded community centers created by Eden / New Hope Ministries.  May God be praised for new hope and changed lives in Myanmar!

To learn more about the ways that God using the work of our sisters and brothers in Myanmar, watch the videos below.

Eden/New Hope Ministries Response to COVID-19

    

Eden/New Hope Ministries Overview

  

Green House at Eden/New Hope Ministries

  

Purple House at Eden/New Hope Ministries


Chung Doi Church of Christ

Ryan Binkley sends Highland an encouraging report on ways that the Chung Doi Church of Christ is sharing God’s love with one another and their community during the pandemic.

  

  


Restoring the World by Making Peace in the Muslim-Majority World

The Institute of Middle Eastern Studies (IMES) at The Arab Baptist Theological Seminary

Our partners at IMES describe the Khebz W Meleh (KwM) (Bread and Salt) initiative as follows: 

“KwM is an interfaith peace-building initiative that aims to create inter-religious friendships through dialogue and share action.  Through engaging in conversations that focus on the greater good, young people begin to form insights into different religions and form lasting friendships, all while serving their communities through social actions.  The social actions are practical activities that help the youths learn how to work together. They identify and issue in their community, determine its root cause, and plan and execute a social action that targets the problem.  The IMES team leads KwM groups in Lebanon and supports groups launched in Egypt and in Sudan through some of ABTS’ graduates.”

Because of the current need for social distancing, KwM has been temporarily suspended.  ABTS is sharing its hospitality housing with healthcare workers during the fight against COVID-19.  Please take a moment to read the latest news letter from our partner.  

ABTS NEWSLETTER