Stories

Stories from "Serving"

Liz’s Story: Steps of Obedience

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Our Sunday night outreach team at the Hillcrest Campus has been hitting the streets, bringing food and building relationships with their neighbors. Among these neighbors was a woman named Liz, who had just been in a car wreck that left her bedridden along with a husband who recently was diagnosed with cancer.  This family was in desperate need of hope. Knowing that Liz couldn’t physically make it to church, a group from Hillcrest decided to take church to Liz. Through prayer, worship, and an encouraging message, the Hillcrest team surrounded Liz’s family with the love of Christ.

Women then began meeting with her to do Discovery Bible Study. She began to dive into the Word of God like never before.  She started coming to church at our Hillcrest campus and recently got baptized surrounded by her newfound sisters in Christ.  In the midst of heartbreaking circumstances, Liz found hope and life in Jesus Christ and a community of believers who will walk alongside her on the road ahead. We celebrate with Liz as she stepped out in obedience to be baptized!

Praise the Lord for opening the hearts and homes of our Hillcrest neighbors! God is working in incredible ways in this community!

September 14, 2015

The Nations are Here

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This summer an incredible group of interns flooded our campuses with passion and drive to reach people to Jesus. Here’s a story from one of our Missions’ interns:

The smell of spices and cigar smoke filled T’s apartment. T proudly showed me her new furniture given to her by donors. We laughed and carried on conversation about her new life in America and her previous life back home in Iraq. I remember closing my eyes for a second and almost believing that I was in a home deep in the heart of the Middle East. How was I in my hometown of Nashville? T is a believer. She moved to America because of religious persecution in Iraq. She received an education and had a great job back home, but moving to America is like starting all over again.

I had the opportunity to meet with T a couple of times this summer to help her with her English. You know, Matthew 19:24 says to preach the Gospel to every tribe, tongue, and nation. There are 7,000 different tongues on this earth and so many people who have never heard the name of Jesus. It can be easy to stay still and comfortable, frozen because we don’t know how to even begin such a task. Often, when I think about fulfilling this commandment I picture a foreign mission field with zero Gospel witness anywhere. I’m learning, however, that the picture that I usually have is not the only mission field there is. Did you know that there are over 60,000 refugees living in Tennessee? The majority have moved here from countries where preaching in the name of Jesus is illegal, and as a result so many know nothing about Jesus that is actually true.

T’s friend, SJ, came over to join us for dinner. SJ has been living in Nashville for a few years now. He grew up in a Muslim family but no longer identifies himself with Islam. SJ has been searching for the truth ever since he began to have troubling dreams. These dreams have haunted him and despite all the searching he’s done, he has yet to find anyone who wanted to talk to him about these dreams. As T made dinner, SJ began sharing his dreams with me. They all had uncanny similarities to bible stories. One of them stood out to me the most.

“In my dream Jesus was carrying heavy wood on his back (the cross). There were crowds of people on both sides of Him, but no one was helping Him. I looked at Jesus and I couldn’t understand why no one was helping him. I ran to Him to carry the cross for Him so He could just walk beside me, but when I put it on my shoulders the weight was too much. I fell to the ground because the cross was too heavy for me.”

MJ has shared his dreams with priests and friends before, but until that evening no one had ever been able to tell him the meaning of his dream. His dream was so clear to me and that night God gave me the words to tell Him the meaning. The beautiful thing is that you don’t have to go to seminary or be any sort of expert on the bible to share the Gospel with someone. All that is needed is to look at them and tell them that they are not able to carry the weight of their sin any longer and that they will always fall down while trying. Jesus is the only one who can carry the weight of the cross for us. There are so many more people searching just like SJ. Jesus is going before us and preparing the hearts of people – right here in Nashville.

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Once I heard these wise words, “You never know who is standing on the other side of your obedience.” I think this is so true in refugee ministry because you truly have no idea how far the Gospel will spread because of your obedience. You may be reaching one family or a whole village deep in the middle east – both equally important because either way souls are being written in the book of LIFE. I pray that SJ will continue to be troubled enough by his dreams to seek the truth even more. I pray that God will place people in his path who will share the Gospel with him. I pray that soon seeds will come to fruition and He will let Jesus carry his cross for him. Will you pray? And will you do more than pray? Go into the harvest. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” – Jesus (Matthew 9:37-38)

We partner with a ministry called World Relief in Nashville. They resettle hundreds of refugees in Nashville every year.  If people want to get involved or have questions they can email cory.haney@longhollow.com.

September 10, 2015

Divine Appointment: One Piece of a Bigger Puzzle

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God uses people in unexpected and mind-blowing ways. People all over Long Hollow are experiencing stories like this, where God puts together all the pieces to prepare the way for something bigger than ourselves.

“Some friends and I decided to try and get together for lunch.

We all have crazy lives and it’s difficult to get together. It had been about a year since we were all able to see each other.  

Everything worked out for us to get together one day. While getting ready, I felt like there was something different about this time. Experiencing God says to look for where God is at work and join him there…

I kept feeling like God was saying this was a divine appointment.

We met and while we were talking Africa came up. My friend said that God was giving her a vision for a new ministry in Africa. She said that she had not planned on talking about this just yet, but every time God brought this vision to her, Gene and I always came to her mind.

She said that there are many women and children dying daily in Africa because of the way the women give birth today due to lack of medical care. She said that ultrasound was the key.

So I took all this in and shared with Gene. He said, “You know I don’t want to go to Africa again right??” I didn’t want to go back either. 

I suggested he needed to call a guy that offered to buy our business 3 years ago that had the smartphone ultrasound devices. Gene said, “I am not calling him. I haven’t talked to him in three years, and he still owes me money. That would be awkward, and who knows what he did with them or if he still has them.”  That was  on a Sunday night.

On Monday morning, Gene text me and said, “You are not going to believe this, but the guy called me asking about respiratory therapist and was about to hang up when I asked him what he ever did with those devices.”

Well he said that they were up in his attic collecting dust. Gene told him that there was a possible new ministry about to begin in Africa that needed ultrasound. And he said absolutely! He had two grandchildren adopted from Africa and that he would be happy to help anyway he could. 

So he brought Gene the device, and Gene asked him for how much he would sell the machine. He said that he would donate all 10 if we needed them! That’s between $80,000-100,000!

We are expected God to do something huge next!”

-Gene and Stacey Spain

July 28, 2015

Once a Slave, Now a Survivor

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During the past month in our anti-trafficking ministry, we were able to see a 22-year-old girl rescued out of sex-slavery in the Nashville area. With a childhood in strip clubs and surrounded by drugs, this young girl was vulnerable to a life marked by the pains of addiction and abuse. Our ministry partner, Rescue 1, and volunteers from Long Hollow were able to be a part of the rescue and restoration process over the past few weeks. As she walked through the process of detoxing, members of our church family stayed by her side and were able to be a listening ear and a smiling face. She was then safely transported to a safe house where she is now receiving proper counseling, healing, education and hearing about the ultimate freedom available in Christ.  This is why we do what we do week after week. It is for girls like her. She was once a slave, but is now a SURVIVOR. What a beautiful story to celebrate as we are seeing freedom rising on the streets of Nashville. There are hundreds more just like her who are being trafficked every day in our own backyard. Because we have all been rescued by Christ, we will fight for the rescue of others – each girl, each young child– until every slave is free.

July 15, 2015

LHBC in NYC: Mobilizing Ministry

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God is at work in New York City, and Long Hollow members are joining in.

Butch and Maribeth, a part of the Long Hollow family, are with the North American Mission Board in New York City and serving this summer as the City Coach to 53 NAMB GenSend college interns, of which our very own, Ashton Redden, is one.

Gordon Baines, a Long Hollow member and NextGen director of Final Command Ministries, a strategic missions partner of Long Hollow, along with Long Hollow missions intern, Ryan O’Neal, had the opportunity to visit Butch and Maribeth Burns this past week in Brooklyn, NY. Gordon and Ryan trained these students in Discovery Bible Study and Disciple Making Movements this past Wednesday, as they prepare to canvas their areas in NYC with the gospel.

“We can’t wait to hear the stories,” said Ryan O’Neal. “These interns really caught the vision and many of them said they were incredibly thankful of learning about the DBS, and excited to use it.”

After just a couple of days, already a team of NAMB interns experienced the Discovery Bible Study as a team to practice, and others were identifying people in their community, including a single mom, that they could walk in discovering God through His Word with the DBS.

From waving at locals in the streets of Brooklyn to meeting with church planters in coffee shops to overseeing 53 NAMB GenSend interns, Butch and Maribeth are in full stride serving the Lord in New York City. God is using them tremendously in a city where only six percent of the population is evangelical Christians, which has increased over the past few years.

In addition, Cullen Hicks is in New York City with Metro New York Baptist Association (MNYBA), serving as an intern working alongside a church planter in Queens.

The Long Hollow family is incredibly grateful for Butch, Maribeth, Ashton, and Cullen’s obedience and willingness, as they are a witness to us all.

As for the NAMB summer interns that Gordon and Ryan were able to train in DBS and DMM, this is just the beginning for them as they walk with the diverse community of New York City in discovering the God of the Bible. Pray for God’s Word to speak, bring dead souls to life, and to transform this city.

If you want to read and learn more about Butch and Maribeth Burns’ ministry, as well as many other Long Hollow Baptist Church missionaries go to http://longhollow.com/mobilize/.

If you want to know more about what God is doing through Discovery Bible Study and Disciple Making Movements, consider attending the Disciple Making Movements Experience July 16-17, 2015 at our Hendersonville campus.  Visit www.dmmexperience.com for more details.

July 1, 2015

Experiencing God in Bold Moves

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We are rejoicing constantly at the Work the Lord is doing at Long Hollow. He has equipped us to move and reach people far from Him. Jeff Armstrong, our Springfield Campus Pastor, recently shared a story about an experience he had praying, stepping out in faith, and boldly going where he was needed. Here’s what he had to say: 

I started going to the jail after Kelvin Penuel, one of our deacons, encouraged me to go. He has been going for years, and we both attended an orientation to be able to go and lead Bible studies in the different prison pods. 

It took me a few weeks to go, because I was somewhat apprehensive about being locked up in a pod with prisoners. However, I had been going through the Experiencing God study, and the day I decided to go, the lesson was on praying, allowing God to work, and then watching Him work. 

I went, and decided to go to the pod that houses the sex offenders, because a guard told me those guys always need to talk to people. I walked in, and asked if anyone would like to do a bible study. Four of the men came and I did a DBS study with them. Towards the end of the study, I shared what I had learned through my Experiencing God workbook. One of the guys mentioned he had read some of those devotionals before, and had always wanted to do that study. I was moved to ask them if they would like me to lead them in the study. I couldn’t promise anything, because there are restrictions on what the prisoners can have. 

In His faithfulness, God worked it out. Week after week, the group would grow, and other men asked if they could also join the study. Today, there are nine to ten guys in the study each week, with one other guy who just sits and listens. What God is doing in their hearts through this study is nothing short of incredible. And what God has taught me about boldness through this step of faith is amazing. 

June 25, 2015

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