Thursday, March 20, 2014

Alpha Course Update

The Alpha Course has been alive and well at East Hills over the past month and a half. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Why Pray?

Thirty-seven people joined in a 24-hour marathon of prayer for the health, welfare and future of our church and our nation late last month. Why did we pray? The House asked five participants for their “take” on the Call to Prayer and their personal commitment to pray:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

T Minus Six Months and Counting: Longview Launch Update

In February of 2013, Susan and I were called by East Hills to lead the launch of a new campus into Longview. In those days, the launch of a new campus seemed only a dream, as it was so far in the future.

“...this is a spiritual endeavor led by Him and nothing less.” 

Monday, February 03, 2014

Annual Celebration A Big Hit! By Nick Stumbo

On Sunday, January 27, East Hills hosted it’s Annual Celebration in the Community Room. This was a powerful time of looking back at the many ways EHA has made an impact in our community with the love of Christ, and also a time of looking ahead to what 2014 holds.

The atmosphere in the room was jovial and engaging as the EHA family watched a 2013 highlight film, shared memories of the past year, and celebrated communion together. (The highlight video can be found on the EHA website under the “about us” tab.) Pastor Nick shared some insights in his annual “State of the Church” address. He directed the audience to I Peter 2:9 and encouraged them to consider how we are called to be a chosen people, a royal priesthood, and a people belonging to God in the coming year.

The annual business portion of the meeting was conducted in under an hour. Some of the highlights were:
- Both the General Fund and Missions giving were at an all-time high in 2013.
- The 2014 Budget passed unanimously.
- New officers for the Deacons, Deaconness, Trustee and Administrative Board were voted into place.
- Bob Simmons and Doug Radke were both affirmed for the role of Elder by an overwhelmingly positive vote.
- A resolution was passed granting the Administrative Board authority to use some of the EHA Captial Fund monies for equipment purchases for the Longview Campus Launch.

It was also noted that while the congregation and leadership are fully on-board with the Longview Campus Launch, the current General Fund budget does not have enough room to accommodate all the expenses a new campus will entail. Pastor Nick encouraged the EHA family to continue asking God to show them what level of involvement they are to have, and if possible to support the Longview Campus Launch with designated giving above and beyond their normal tithe. Anyone wishing to do this on a regular basis should turn in a commitment card, found in the Welcome Center or by contacting the church office.

EHA continues to celebrate a season of unity and togetherness, and this came through again and again during the afternoon. If anyone would like copies of the 2014 budget, the 2013 Annual Reports, or complete minutes of the meeting, please contact the church office.

Looking around the room made more than a few people wonder if this could be the last time East Hills has the space to host the Annual Celebration on-site. The gathering was attended by over 130 people, including kids, and those who attended can attest that the room was full! What a blessing to have so many interested in celebrating the past year and setting the course for the year to come. God has been faithful to us- may we continue to follow Him in all things!

Blessings for the Rentz family

Chuck and Jenny Rentz ministered at East Hills a few years back.

Their church has recently closed and they are in transition now.
This is an opportunity for those at EHA who knew them to give a little blessing in the form of a note of encouragement and/or a gift card.

Note cards will be available in the foyer until February 16 when they will be forwarded to the Rentz family.

Questions? Contact Debbie Sande at 360-673-2051 or

Who Cleans the Carpet?

Ever wonder who cleans the carpet when someone has spilled coffee in the Main Hall (Sanctuary)?  Who changes the light bulbs when they burn out?  Who makes sure that the gutters don’t overflow with leaves and debris each year?  The answer is the Trustees.

This group of six men works hard throughout the year at EHA cleaning, repairing and, in general, making sure the facility we meet in looks well-kept and updated.

The trustees not only clean carpets, replace light fixtures and bulbs, mow grass and do landscaping, they also are responsible for repair of plumbing problems, painting and electrical upgrades.

They are responsible to lock up the church facility when services are over. Once a year they host an all-church cleanup when windows get washed, doors and jambs are wiped, gutters are cleaned out, cob webs dusted out of sight, rock banks repaired and paint projects are planned and completed.

In effect, they keep this building and its grounds looking good for you and for those who visit us.

The next time you see Jim Fishel, Leon Rennells, Brad Whittaker, Fred Mitchell, James McGregor, and Mike Perry—give them a handshake and a greeting of appreciation. They are working hard for you!


The House asked members from the youth group, young adults group and other adults at  East Hills to share their    blessings and lessons from 2013. Some of them were able to give us a peek at what they are looking forward to in 2014!  Read on for some very special uplifting words from some very special people!  God is good!

Ryan Thorstenson/young adult
In the past year, God has blessed me with a great Bible study to join and get involved with. When I first came to East Hills I didn't get involved with any groups for a while and it had left me lacking in people to connect with. Then Pastor Jesse invited me and my girlfriend to the young adults’ Bible study and it has been great learning more about the Bible and connecting with others. 
In this coming year I pray to have more of a personal relationship with God. To not only learn about God and praise Him, but to get to know Him better, as well. 

Katie Sharer/youth 
2013 was a good year for my family and me. I am blessed because my parents had the ability to send me to three months of physical therapy for my knee. I can now walk up the stairs at school and my home without my knee hurting. I am also thankful to all the friends I made this last year. I am looking forward to doing volleyball camps in the summer and trying out in the fall. I also hope to make more friends when I get to the high school in the fall.

Ellie Sharer/youth
The things I am grateful for from 2013 are the things we take for granted year after year and never notice how important they are until they are taken away from us: my family, the roof over my head and the opportunities offered to me that other teens might not be so fortunate to have. So many children in the world are living without both of their parents, or without a sturdy house they go home to every night, and many will never be able to experience the same freedoms I am offered. It’s these little things we never really think about that made 2013 great.

Makenzie Stephenson/youth
I go to church because I love to learn about the Bible and how I can make myself a better Christian. The way that Pastor Nick and Pastor Jon preach about the Word of the Lord is motivating and encouraging. Singing is another reason why I go to church. I love expressing my love for Christ through song. The words are extremely up lifting, and the worship team is very talented when they are performing. Just being at East Hills has changed the way I live life and respect others as well as their opinions. 

Sherry Armstrong  
In 2013 God taught me (again) that He is sovereign. I had ‘known’ that He is sovereign. I had 'known' that He tests us, to grow us and enlarge our faith.  But this year I realized that God wants us to pass those tests! The test is not somehow trying to ‘do us in.’  
Sometimes I’ve naively, perhaps even glibly, told God I wanted His will in my life. But then when His will comes and it’s a season of testing, I’ve been known to suddenly resist, to even grumble and not accept what He brings. I’ve not been truly surrendered to Him. I wanted His will for my life, until His will wasn’t what I wanted for my life.
I more completely learned that as a believer I am safely, securely held in His all sovereign hands. That means whatever comes or goes in my life has been lovingly filtered through His fingers. He has allowed it to come or go, because every-thing must have His permission, precisely because He IS sovereign. He knows far better than I what will bring out in me the greatest reflection of Him. And that is the goal of a believer’s life journey of faith.  True faith can trust Him with life’s circumstances, because He knows how to obtain the greatest reflection or image of Christ in my life.

Ahren Belden
I think this year has been about learning to trust God alone and realize my failures can be turned into lessons that help me grow. Without the hard times I would not be so grateful for the grace God has been showing me in my walk with Him. As for the coming year just that I will continue to seek God first and allow him to continue to change me and that I would want that. 

Tina & Matt Black 
2013 started out very rough for our family. What was hoped for did not happen. My great idea turned out to be not as bright as I had originally deemed “Awesome.”  I was dismayed and felt rejected.  All doors that had appeared open for me to start a new business had now all shut in my face.  Several thousand dollars later and no job to account for, I fell apart; my dream came crashing down.  BUT GOD! God held our hand, even though we could not feel his touch.  We were completely thrown off our course.  What did I have to show for nearly 3 years hard work?  Nothing, not even my pride.  We struggled to find confidence. I struggled with guilt for my family and our income.  BUT GOD!  He was there, whispering in our ears, that all would be alright.  Although we didn’t hear His sweet voice, we held on, gripping the steering wheel , as if we were being sent on a roller-coaster (which I hate).  We were disappointed.  We were angry.  Not knowing what our future held for us made us weary…and we still do not know.  We are taking each step as cautiously as we can.  We know God is guiding us, although we cannot see His presence.  We made it nearly a year on one income, we still have our home, and we still have each other…that is enough for us.

Alejandro Cacho/young adult
Is there such a thing as "the greatest blessing ever?”  If so, I think the one I received in 2013 would be on the podium to take that win. Up until February of 2013, the extent of my religious beliefs was a cross with some man named "Jesus" hung in the living room of my parents’ house and a Bible that I had never seen opened. Twenty years of going to church and calling myself a "Catholic" had meant almost nothing to me. Going to East Hills and being around the church (it’s people) hadn't brought me "back" to faith, but it had opened my eyes toward it and being alive for God. Because I am, in fact, here for God.

Julia Jorgensen/young adult
I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced a year where you look back and realize the amazing things God has done in you, but for me, 2013 was that year. I can see the person I was last January—broken and hurt, lonely, and trying so hard to let go of bitterness that had been building up for years. I was holding so tightly to my plans and my desires.
But, when I finally loosened my grip and let God in, He began to heal me. Suddenly I began to see that He had a better plan all along. I simply had to wait for His timing—as hard as that can be sometimes. Throughout this last year, God has healed my brokenness and brought amazing people into my life. He has brought me joy that can only come from Him. He has proven, once again, that He is so faithful to provide. So, this year, I’m going to keep working on letting go of my tightly gripped plans and trusting His way for my life.

Wendy Allen
2013 brought to my life many blessings!  I was blessed with having such a great group of girlfriends that I pray and play with.  My family and I were also blessed with good health including my 93-year-old grandmother who still lives at home by herself!  In 2014 I look forward to exploring my new relationship and continued connection with my family and friends.

Brad Anglin/youth
2013 was full of shining moments for me.  Reflecting back on the year, I could easily write an envious list of blessings. Being hired as a camp counselor at Camp Meriwether and being named inspirational staff, attending basic training for Sea Cadets and being selected for honor company, touring on board the U.S.S. Nimitz, zip lining and visiting Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and I can’t forget turning 16 and getting my driver’s license and car. I am extremely grateful for every one of these blessings and know that God has laid an amazing path before me to follow.  However, my true blessings come from the people in my life. This year, I was blessed with meeting Josh and Wendy Droke.  Josh is not just my youth pastor; he is also a great friend and listener. I will never forget the Wednesday night Wendy’s car froze over and we had to go rescue her.  We ended up having “group” at Starbucks and just hanging out and talking. Through Josh and the youth group, I was able to meet my fellow Strumigos, Alex and Wayne, and get to occasionally rock Sunday night worship with them.  Youth group also helped me to develop a deeper friendship with Cameron McKinney as we traveled together to Fusion Camp.  So many life-long memories were made on that trip like fixing the “check engine” light on the church van. My final blessing I want to share is my Aunt Diane.  You may think it strange for me to say that I am blessed with watching her battle with cancer, but I am forever changed by being a witness to her faith in God.  Aunt Diane says that she knows where she is going and is not afraid.  She counts each day as a blessing from God and enjoys every minute and memory made from that day.  She is an inspiration to me and everyone her life touches.  Aunt Diane, Josh, The Strumigos and Cameron all remind me of the verse from Matthew 5:16, 
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven.” My prayer for you is that in 2014 your light will shine bright for those your life touches.

Karin Seehafer 
This past year my family was blessed with a happy, healthy great nephew named Silas Johnson; he was born on September 24, 2013 and the blessing is doubled in that the new family lives only an hour away so we can visit often.   It’s so wonderful to have a baby in the family again.  We are also blessed by having no major health issues in the family.  We are so blessed to live in the Pacific Northwest!
In October 2013, Matthew and his teammates in 7th grade football learned that hard work and focus pays off in a big way.  They earned an undefeated season of 6-0.  I have learned to take opportunities to spend time with family and friends; to get out and experience all the Pacific Northwest has to offer.  This lesson came about when I invited my younger sister to explore the Historic Columbia River Highway with me this past October.  She agreed and we had a great time.  Life is better when it’s shared.  

Jonathan Sande
There have been many blessings in 2013. One was having a good group of friends who challenged me to grow spiritually. Another was God's provision for all of my needs. Health, too, was a blessing. In 2011/2012 I had a bad back, but it was doing well last year. Another blessing was when many of you joined me in my work by being pen pals with my students. And just the opportunity to live and work in China was a blessing in itself. This coming year I am looking forward to teaching some new students and completing some new projects.

What is Real?

This past year, we started a leadership training program here at East Hills called the Timothy Institute. One dynamic of this commitment for the guys involved is intentional time in God’s Word. Previously, many of us had been involved in reading through the One-year Chronological Bible with others in the EHA community. So as the New Year rolled around, I asked the guys to make a commitment with me to a more meditational approach to the Bible, focusing on quality of time, and not quantity of verses read. Our shared plan is to spend at least 15 minutes each day meditating on the same passage of Scripture for an entire week. This is quite a change from the chronological reading, where a week might cover as many as 25 to 30 chapters! Now we are wrestling with just 15 to 20 verses for seven days.

Our assigned text for this week is Colossians 3:1-17. This has me reflecting on what is really “real.” Verse 3 says, “For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”

Recently, my girls, ages 9 and 6, have gotten into performing illusions. These illusions are typically found at the dollar store or on the bargain rack of your nearest department store. They consist of tricks like making a penny disappear, cutting a rope in half, or by flipping a dollar upside down without ever turning it over. I’m sure you’ve encountered the kind of entry-level magic I’m thinking about here. The girls love to practice and then show off to Daddy how they can do such impossible things.

Even these bargain-brand illusions are based on the universal idea that if you can get the eye to see something different than is really happening, you will appear to have done magic. Sleight of hand, hidden pockets, and secret compartments take care of the rest!

What’s interesting is how much of life can be this way. The world we live in tries to sell us on an agenda of what matters and how we should live our lives. Carefully crafted commercials and Hollywood specials lead us to believe that real life is all about fame, fortune and beauty. “Look over here!” they say, and direct our eyes to what looks appealing while behind the scenes the stark truth goes unnoticed; a truth that reveals no one really lives this way. The famous are wracked with loneliness. The fortunate are never satisfied. And the beautiful spend untold hours trying to maintain an all-but-impossible standard.

And if we are honest, many of us would admit that this sleight-of-hand “real life” has captured us. We have consciously, or subconsciously, come to believe that these propped up standards are the stuff of real life. But in this one jarring sentence, the Apostle Paul calls us to a whole new viewpoint. He exposes the
hidden pocket of this conjuring culture and says, “Not so! Real life isn’t found where everyone else is telling you it is found! Your real life is in Christ.”

What does it mean that my real life is in Christ? To me, this means that what matters most is always found in Christ. My plans for today? In Christ. How to raise my kids in a good way? In Christ. The key to overcoming addiction and living in true freedom? In Christ. Now I don’t mean to say that every problem can be solved by simply tagging the words “in Christ” to the end. I am suggesting, though, that real joy, real hope, and real progress are found when I pursue them through Jesus and the way He taught us to live. You see, one thing my experience has taught me is that unlike the world, there is no hidden pocket or secret  
compartment when it comes to pursuing my life in Christ. Any serious effort I have made to live my life more aligned with Jesus has always resulted in more life, not less. I cannot say the same thing about the pursuits of this world. Worldly pursuits have a way of leaving me, and you, feeling like we were misled. Deceived by an illusion. But no so with Jesus!

While not always immediately apparent, real life is found in Christ. And that’s no illusion.

Pastor Nick

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Overwhelming Love for Our Community, by Jon Donohue

Jesus has a heart for the poor among us. In fact, He equates our care for the poor as our care for Him. In Matthew 25:40 Jesus tells his listeners “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Jesus’ words make it clear that, as a church, our care for people in need is a critical calling. Because of this, it’s a blessing that we can partner with ministries in our community that are meeting such needs.

Love Overwhelming is a non-profit ministry in our community that is engaging in meeting the needs of the most forgotten among us: the homeless. Love Overwhelming was birthed three years ago out of the vision of its current director, Chuck Hendrickson.  At the time, Chuck was working with a local mental health agency that focused on helping homeless people get housing. But through his work, he noticed that there were many people who were “falling through the cracks” of the system. Some were, for one reason or another, unable to walk through the steps required to gain housing, while others were considered too “high risk.” Chuck recognized the needs of those who were still literally out in the cold, and he, along with the help of other ministry partners, developed a mission to help these outsiders. The mission of Love Overwhelming remains the same today: “To extend hope by identifying needs and creatively serving our community.”

One critical way Love Overwhelming advances this mission is through evidence-based best practices like the “housing first” model. Utilizing a network of landlords who serve alongside Love Overwhelming, The strategy of the housing first model is to take individuals who are homeless, and give them housing first. In other words, while other systems require that people first become clean, or get some level of employment, or get better credit, or pay off debts, or get the right kinds of care or state assistance before they receive housing, etc., this strategy provides people with housing first (for one full year) so that they then have their number one concern taken care of in order to then work on the other needs and requirements from a place of security rather than insecurity.

As Chuck told me in a conversation, “We want to create as few barriers as possible for people finding housing, so they can focus on bettering themselves rather than every day trying to find shelter and safety.” He equated it with how people come to Christ. “Jesus doesn’t require us to make ourselves better before He will receive us. So why should we ask others to fix themselves up before we’re willing to help meet their needs?” Chuck also said that the housing first model has also been up and running in Seattle’s King County, and because of it, the average cost to taxpayers to take care of the homeless population in their community dropped four million dollars in one year. It has been a fiscal success as well as a humanitarian success. To this day, Love Overwhelming gets referrals from both our local city governments and local school districts in order to help house the homeless in our community.

Love Overwhelming also operates a ministry called the Urban Rest Stop. The Urban Rest Stop provides a place where those in need of shelter can come find warmth, food, provisions such as clothes and toiletries, and even a warm shower, all in the name of Jesus. There is also a case manager on site who can help walk guests through steps to getting needed SSI, SSD, sign up for insurance, and receive other critical assistance. Through December, the ministry will operate Monday to Wednesday mornings out of the Three Rivers House of Prayer (TriHOP) building located at 1335 11th Avenue in Longview. Beginning in January, the Urban Rest Stop ministry will change locations, though the new location is still undetermined.

In the near future, Love Overwhelming is hoping and praying to open a low barrier shelter that will operate 24-7 and seven days a week. “Low barrier” means that there will be few restrictions with regard to who can come find help getting out of the cold and into a place of safety. While they have the funds to move ahead with the low barrier shelter, the ministry is still seeking a facility that can/will house this shelter. Please pray that just the right location will be provided soon.

There are many ways you can help Love Overwhelming. Prayer is always a critical need. Love Overwhelming is also constantly in need of provisions, as everything they have to offer their guests is provided through donations. This time of year they are especially in need of cold weather gear including warm clothes (hats, gloves, socks, shirts, etc.), coats, sleeping bags, hand warmers, and blankets. Toiletries like small bars of soap and shampoo, as well as nutritious, non-perishable food are also a constant need.

Love Overwhelming is also always looking for people who are willing to volunteer their time. Volunteers are needed to help pack daily living essential bags that are handed out to guests. There are opportunities to serve in the mornings at the Urban Rest Stop as well as overnight (10 PM to 7 AM) at their extreme weather center, which provides overnight shelter for guests when the temperature drops below 31 degrees. There is also a fundraiser committee that is looking for volunteers who can help coordinate fundraising activities for Love Overwhelming.

Between now and Christmas, East Hills is going to be collecting new, warm hats and gloves. Half of these hats and gloves will be given to Love Overwhelming, while the other half will be given to Northgate City Church and their ministry to those in need. Please consider how you can help meet the need for hats and gloves for those struggling to stay warm this winter.

More info can be found at, or on Facebook:
All questions and contacts can be directed to Executive Director Chuck Hendrickson:  360.560.3913, or at

Making Christmas Meaningful

Three East Hills Alliance families were asked to share their thoughts on how they chose to make Christmas meaningful to them. Thanks to Jim and Sharon Fishel, Jean and Rick Imholte and Pat Enbody for letting us peek into their holiday traditions!

We began early in our marriage, even before children arrived, to try and make Christmas as Christ centered as possible. Several young married couples got together for a party at our house one year just after Thanksgiving to build their own advent wreaths. We would light a candle and read scripture each Sunday that related to the events surrounding Christ’s birth.  On Christmas morning the center candle representing Christ would be lit. This became a tradition that our daughters looked forward to taking part in every Christmas.

Another very special tradition is the reading of a six-page short story “The Other Wise Man” which began a little later when our daughters were in grade school and has now become a part of their own family Christmas activities.  This condensed version of a story by Henry van Dyke was introduced to us through the December ’83 issue of Moody Monthly magazine.  This story follows the events of a fourth magi that sold everything he owned to buy three jewels to give to the king foretold by a new star.  He missed the journey with his three friends because he stopped to aid an injured traveler.  The rest of the story tells how he used his jewels to help others while searching all his life for the King.  At the end of the story the Lord accepts his gift of the jewels as if he had given them to Him.  Even though we have read this story many times it is still so moving that the chosen reader has to pass it on to another reader near the end because of being overcome with emotion.

One year as we hung our stocking on the mantel we decided to put one up for Jesus in the middle.  We then wrote letters telling Jesus what we wanted to give Him for His birthday. Baking together everyone’s favorite cookies, that were usually only eaten and shared at Christmas time, was one of the things our daughters loved to do.  Caroling as a family quartet to our neighbors and sharing plates of those special cookies was always a memorable event.  Making sugared walnuts has taken the cookies place now that we are empty nesters.  Sharing them with our neighbors is a very joyfully received gift.  Last year we got our houses mixed up and delivered them to a family we hadn’t met and made a new friend.

For the last twenty years we’ve faithfully put out a lighted nativity scene under the tree in our front yard with the star hanging in the tree above as a light to others.  

Jim & Sharon Fishel
When I was asked how I find meaning in Christmas each year, I had to really stop and think about it.  Admittedly, our family is a little short on traditions.  I do the usual things like bake and decorate, have Christmas music on, etc.  I guess the way I do things is a little different than some families and it works for us.

The first decorating I do is to set up our large nativity scene.  It just seems right to do that above all, and then I fill in with a tree (most years) and a little globe I have of the nativity. I try to keep decorating simple and focused on the true meaning of Christmas - Christ's birth.  So my tree is only decorated with angels, stars, and reminders of God's gifts to us, our children. No pickles, Coca Cola Santa bears or themed team Christmas trees at our house!  

This year we are  instituting a dollar limit on our gift giving, and hoping to take pressure off our kids and selves to keep it simple and focus on what Christmas is really about.

Another thing we like to do when the "kids" are home is drive around and look at lights.  There is something very special about living in a small town and that sort of magical element of community that you feel at Christmas.  One of our daughters lives in a large metro city, and the hometown feel just isn't there.  With grandchildren now in the middle of our lives, we see everything anew through their eyes.  We are trying to keep the Santa Claus emphasis out of it, and just focus on family, Jesus, and the simple joy of being together.

A strange, but personally meaningful thing for me is a connection I feel to the holy family and Jesus's humble birth when I am out in our barn, cleaning the horse stall.  There is just something about being in a cold, quiet barn that reminds me very physically about what it might have been like for Mary, Joseph and the precious baby Jesus.  I think of all the places He could have been born, and yet God chose this most humble of entries into the world!  It touches me to think that Jesus became low that He might lift us up with Him.

Jean & Rick Imholte
We have always had a very simple Christmas. We don’t buy expensive gifts; it is a time to be with family and close friends. This is the way we celebrated growing up, always reading the Christmas story several times and having a dinner with grandparents, aunts and uncles.

We focus on celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a time to reflect on this and how it changed the world.  I like celebrating with family and close friends and being thankful that I serve Jesus Christ.

Our traditions have changed over the years. From growing up to raising a family and now it is just Evan and me.  He and I always love to set up a Nativity set in his room and several more about the house. Then we always have a dinner Christmas eve with the rest of the family.   - Pat Enbody

Heart to Heart

At East Hills we offer women many ways to connect, serve, learn, and relax.  Some of these opportunities are woven into the fabric of East Hills: Women participate in outreach events, are an integral part of many of our key teams, and serve on various boards and committees.  In addition, there are some unique activities designed just for the women of East Hills.

Each Spring there is a district women’s retreat, and each Fall there is an East Hills women’s retreat.  These times of unplugging from the routines of life create space to make memories together as we get to know each other better.

Alliance Women provides a place for women with a heart for missions to gather to pray and participate in key initiatives for women and families worldwide.

We offer a growing list of recovery group options specifically for women.  These safe places give women a place to gain insight, recover boundaries, and renew hope.

Heart to Heart is a gathering that meets throughout the year in seasons of four to eight weeks for practical Bible study and fellowship.  We want this to be a relaxing and renewing time for women so we provide a meal and childcare, all for free. We are currently engaging in a series called “Found: Valuable gems discovered in an overlooked passage”. Together we have excavated some real treasure that is both universal and personal.

We have talked about how our actions speak louder than words, about ambition, and about thankfulness, all from the perspective of I Thessalonians, a letter from Paul to his dear friends that is a relevant today as it was when he first penned it. Discussions around our tables have been serious, funny, helpful, personal, and challenging.

A few recent comments are:

--There are several things I love about Heart to Heart, I love coming together with other women and hearing and learning more about God through his word and then coming up with ways we can apply that to our lives by discussing and sharing. And being able to share we get to know each better, bringing us closer to each other and also closer to God.

--One of the things that has been so significant to me each time Heart to Heart is offered is the way all the women share at the individual tables.   I am able to see a part of them that is real.  It is not the way they act on Sunday morning-not "I am just fine" language.  Getting to know women on that deeper, more intimate level means so much to me.

--Of course I the love all that goes into preparing the atmosphere with yummy food and pretty table decorations.

--Someone who has never attended does not need to feel that they would be singled out or put on the spot.  I appreciate that you always state that what is discussed at the table needs to stay right there.

--Thank you for Heart to Heart.

Our final meeting of this season will be Thursday, December 5.  We are calling it “Fa la la la la” and it is more of a party than a meeting!  Each table has been claimed by an individual or team and will be decorated in a theme that reflects a popular Christmas song, we will nibble on festive appetizers and desserts, and each woman will make a fun and useful holiday craft. A few surprises are planned as well.  We want this to be a great place to invite a friend, neighbor, or co-worker who would enjoy launching the holiday season with us.

Whatever a woman’s season of life, situation, interest, or concern, East Hills values the diversity, talent, and significance of the individuals God has drawn to this safe place. If you would like to chat about any of the opportunities we offer, contact me so that we can get together for a cup of coffee and get to know each other better.

~Pastor Ann

Call to Prayer

Recently East Hills had a Call to Prayer night to kick off 24 hours of prayer for our church, our city and our world. Here are two participants’ experience with the event this year.

My Friend and I, A Call to Prayer
My friend and I recently agreed to meet one afternoon at 2:30 to pray for various needs we are concerned about.

We sat on the living room sofa that Friday and began our conversation together. He would remind me of details about the lives of the people we care about and I would echo His concern back. We spoke about marriages, the husband-wife relationship, about children and the need for parental mentoring, love and discipleship. We shared comments and concerns about our church’s leadership, their need for discernment, balance, encouragement and wisdom; we agreed on the need for acknowledgement of those who serve behind the scenes, those who care for the physical building of the entity called “‘church,” those who mow, clean windows, wash kitchen floors. We prayed for wisdom and direction for the whole body called the CMA, passion and balance for its leadership. We also directed our thoughts towards those international workers who serve in countries that deny or restrict their ability to share my Friend’s love for others who live there. We spoke together of their needs to be supported, encouraged and provided for, so far away from my abundance of material provisions.

We spoke together for about a half-hour. It was a sweet time, He gently reminding me of others’ needs; small things that make a difference in the world I live in for the people He loves. What a privilege to be able to talk with the King, having a two-way conversation that impacts His work on Earth.

Linda Pharr
My prayer night experience:
In the past, I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in prayer times and looked forward to our slot this year. So, I was surprised when this year turned out to be a struggle. A very good time in the end, but a difficult commitment to keep. Our slot was at 11pm (not terribly late), but that day turned out to be a 12-hour field trip day in Seattle!

When we got home I ended up taking an evening nap so that I would be awake for prayer. I did get up by 11, but still very, very, tired. It took the Lord's nudge for me to join Greg and have our prayers together. I am so glad I did! The Lord rejuvenated my spirit as we prayed. I felt bonded to the Lord and to our church. Thank you, Lord, for Your faithful prodding and strength to keep us moving forward!
Karla Bean

Pastor's Corner, Nick Stumbo

"This fall, we had the privilege of hosting Todd and Karen Dinius for our Global Impact week. Although it was our first time to have them here in person, our friendship with the Dinius family extends much further back. Over the last four plus year, EHA has developed a significant international partnership with the Alliance team in Bosnia. We have made a commitment to walk alongside this team as they do ministry in a very dark, challenging part of the world.

Our partnership with Bosnia has five components:
1)Personal Connection- getting to know the team at a deeper level.
2)Partner Care- meeting personal needs of team members.
3) Financial Resourcing.
4)Strategic Prayer.
5)Short-Term Trips.

I encourage you to continue finding ways to participate with us in supporting the Alliance team in Bosnia. The team is comprised of the Dinius's, Mark and Kathy Eikost, Mark and Vivianne Shady, Laura Eckman and
Petula Myers.

Here is a recent update from our friends Mark and Kathy Eikost:
Lights! Camera . . . Action!
October is movie month at our community center (Izvor/The Source).
We sponsor a film seminar for local high school students and then work with them to produce short films. In November we will have our own
gala event where the best teams in various categories will get an award. Click on the link below to see our
promotional video about this event and please pray for us as we serve the community in this challenging
and creative way.

What price did you pay?
On Wednesdays I meet with Lj who
is very interested in spiritual things. She always has a lot of questions
like “How does holy water work? Why do some Christians cross themselves before entering church and others don’t? Where do demons come from? How do guardian angels work? Why did people come to John to be baptized? Why did Jesus want to be baptized?” You get the idea.

This week we read about the fisherman who left everything to follow Jesus. We talked about a person’s spiritual journey moving from a place far from God to becoming a child of God and serving Him. As I was relating the story Jesus told of the man who considers the cost before building a home she asked me quite simply, “What price did you pay?” No one’s ever asked me that before.

Growing up in America the initial cost to follow Christ is usually minimal unless your family comes from a completely different background. As we move into adulthood we have many opportunities to “pay” by choosing godliness over whatever is popular at the moment. Some may sacrifice popularity, a particular boyfriend or career to walk more closely with God.
Here in Bosnia almost everyone who chooses Christ pays an initial price that may include friends, family, a home or job. As Lj considers the cost of following Jesus, please pray with me that she grasps the immeasurable value of the grace, forgiveness and eternal life she will receive in exchange.

As you consider your own spiritual journey, let me ask you, “What price did you pay?” Where are you at in your walk with Him? Is it time for another costly life decision? May God show you the great wealth of his riches that you will receive in return for your obedience and sacrifice. He is worth it all!

Kathy, for the Eikosts

If you would like to receive regular updates from the team in Bosnia, contact Debbie Sande at to be included in these emails. Each update provides many ways in which you can continue to pray for and support the work in Bosnia.

We stand with them to bring the light of Christ to a dark place! Let us not grow weary in
doing good, for God is in this! Peace-

Pastor Nick

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Live From Kelso, it's Monday Night!

By Danny & Jo-El Perez

Mondays are culturally looked upon as the dreadful ending of the weekend, and for many of us mark our return to work, school, and your garden variety of responsibilities. A somber midday attitude is referred to by some as, ‘having a case of the Mondays.’ Therein lies the great challenge for East Hills Alliance attendees to take back Monday night and effectively transform the mundane into the marvelous, of course not without the help of some wonderful curriculums and God’s vision and blessing on one of the many Connection Groups happening at EHA.

We have participated in a number of Monday Night Live seasons, starting long before we got married. One of our favorite things about MNL is that it encompasses a wide spectrum of people; single and married, young and less young, families, individuals, and most importantly, friends. The premise is quite simple really: As Jesus said, “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them,” and MNL is designed with accessibility in mind, so to create an environment where believers of all walks of life can gather, and in the building of those relationships is Christ at work in our lives (Matthew 18:20, NLT).

The current season highlights Peter Scazzero’s Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, a book written out of his experience with living in emotional dysfunction, and how God’s design for our lives is to be one of freedom in all areas, including our emotional lives. As our fellow table members share stories of previous hurts, growth, and God’s redeeming grace in their lives, we are blessed to experience transparent and true friendships and share our own stories. Part of the value of the group comes from the curriculum itself, but the biggest reward comes from unpacking it with other fellow believers.

We look forward to future groups, always prayerfully considering our involvement; we don’t always take part in MNL, since we are involved in other projects around EHA, but when God places the urge in our heart to, we gladly follow. If you are looking for a way to get to know some fellow EHA friends on a deeper level, or if you want to learn more about Connection Groups, prayerfully consider Monday Night Live. We encourage you to make the time and effort to see what happens when believers gather to experience fellowship in the name of Christ; it truly is the best way to make “a case of the Mondays” a good thing to have.

Connection Groups

Noel and Georgia McRae:                           
The Roadrunner Connection Group

Ours is the longest running and largest group of all our small groups. We began about the size of a usual small group, but people who fit in and/or had needs that we could address or assist with would come along. And now we are around 20.

We became the "roadrunner" group back when Nick asked all the groups to name themselves, and the name stuck. We called ourselves "Roadrunners" because at the time we were spread from Kalama, west Longview, north of Kelso, to way out in Rose Valley. As we grew bigger and (some of us) older, it became more of a burden to get houses ready for the group. So, for a while we met in the Fellowship Hall of the church. Then when it became difficult for one of the families to even make that, we moved to Monticello Park and have permission to meet in their nice kitchen area.

A high percentage of our group has special needs — health, kids having special problems, alienation of some family members, etc. We have become aware of most of the problems and have become a safe and known resource for support and understanding.
We recently polled the group about various options - multiplying, changing leaders, etc. All options met with strong disapproval. As a group are meeting needs and functioning well, even though we are larger than other groups and larger than normally recommended for a functioning small group. Because we are already large, we are not seeking new members at this time.
We are a support group that is using its own model and format. We followed the sermon series last year. We have done a book study and a series on apologetics. This year we will do some New Testament book discussion studies, starting with Colossians.

A Call to Prayer, by Jim Venable

“Prayer is the primary work of God’s people.
“We believe that nothing of lasting value can be done unless it is bathed in prayer. So passionate was his belief that prayer undergirds all ministry, Alliance founder A. B. Simpson was compelled to create a prayer league to focus on the world’s evangelization. He believed that the Prayer Alliance would “prove to be the mightiest force in the spread of missions;” that force still drives The Alliance today.” 

The words above are taken directly from the CMA core values. What an amazing legacy to have inherited. Our spiritual inheritance regarding prayer is built on the foundation made up of not only the practice of the man, but on the Spirit-birthed reality that God is mysteriously energized and released to act by the fervent prayers of a sanctified people.

On the other hand, these words present me personally with the daunting challenge to bathe in prayer everything that is worthy of “lasting value.” I know these words should be found in my list of personal core values. But before I affirm that notion, I must carefully consider what that would mean. If I am truly a Follower of the Way and am moving, as the words of the old Petra song declare, to a place “Beyond Belief,” does an examination of my life support that prayer is one of my personal core practices? If you looked at my life would there be sufficient evidence to convict me of prayerfulness?

Perhaps you have felt yourself wrestling with this same dilemma- you value prayer, and you desire to pray, but in practice, you don't pray all that much! What should we do? I know I am at a loss as how to reconcile the desire of wanting to see God reform His Church and vitalize His people with the delight of knowing that is the very thing He is doing. I know it can be done because there are those who breathe Spirit-Filled, God-Agreeing, Jesus-Pleasing, Scripture- Based prayers.

Many of us may have the desire to pray, but never experience the delight of prayer. It may be that we haven’t engaged in the discipline of prayer that empowers us to bridge the gap from desire to delight. Repetitive practice is the only way I know to discipline myself in any arena. I don’t believe prayer is any different. While there is not a “perfect” way to pray, I believe the following adage still applies:
“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”  (Vince Lombardi)

Prayer is perfected as we obey the commands of scripture to:
“Pray without ceasing” (I Thess. 5:17),            
“In everything give thanks (prayer)” (I Thess. 5:18),        
“Everything with breath, praise (prayer) the Lord” (Ps. 150:6),
Petition, intercede, supplicate in prayer (Phil. 4:6, I Tim. 2:1)

A “Call to Prayer,” held in Colorado Springs on August 30/31, not only modeled what a time to practice prayer could look like, but issued an unstated, but spiritually implied challenge to engage congregations in ongoing, family times of corporate prayer. As a result the first of several places and times to “practice” focused prayer is being offered during a 24-hour prayer event scheduled for November 15/16.

The local event will be kicked off with a Prayer Gathering to be held in the EHA Main Hall at 6:30pm on Friday evening and will culminate with the Saturday Evening Service, November 16.

Why Habitat for Humanity By Jason Hoover

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit Christian outreach that takes to heart Jesus’s command to clothe and shelter those in need. I became involved with HFH back in the mid 80’s when the church I was attending at the time tried to help start HFH in the Longview-Kelso area. I was a relatively new home owner and wanted to know more about house construction and repair methods for my house. I felt that HFH was a good opportunity for me to learn about home repair without paying the up front money to work on my own house. It provided a way for me to learn from people I thought would know more about construction than I did. What I learned was way beyond my initial goals.

I became involved with HFH because I was impressed with the way a local chapter was to be organized and its dedication to meeting a critical need: adequate affordable housing. HFH also is committed to sharing the gospel with the families and individuals receiving a home.  Homes are not given away as I had previously thought. Instead a new homeowner must commit to at least 500 hours of volunteer work for HFH, either on a house project or for the organization. The home is a purchased home, but with no interest charged on the loan. All money received in payments is recycled into new projects. There are relatively few paid positions in the organization, thus overhead costs are low and more money is available to lend at no interest.

I found that there are many ways to serve in HFH. Some of the ways are listed below:

Work on the actual construction of a house.
Making meals for the workers.
Work in the HFH office.
Volunteer to help support the family.
Provide the training the new homeowner might need such as budgeting, home care, chores, time management, cooking, cleaning, etc.
Helping the homeowner to take care of the physical needs of the house and family.
Praying for and with the new homeowners and
Sharing the gospel to those who ask, “Why are you working on this house for free?”
Serving on the various committees needed to build a home.

There are many other ways to serve the needs of our community through the HFH organization.

I really appreciated the fact that I did not have to know much to be able to be involved. The people that are in charge have always been helpful and try to find a place for any who have a willing heart.

If you  are interested in learning more about Habitat and its ministry here and around the world you can talk with me or I can get you in touch with others in the church that have served in some fashion, or contact the local organization to find out what services are needed.

Meet the Dinius'

The House Interviews Todd and Karen Dinius, Bosnia

Would you share a little about your backgrounds?
Todd grew up on a farm in north central Indiana and graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. and M.S. in Business Management. He later received a M.S. in Intercultural Leadership Studies from Crown College through their on-line degree program. Karen grew up in a small town in southeastern Pennsylvania and graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. in Horticulture. We met in a C&MA church in West Lafayette, Indiana in 2001 while Karen was working with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Purdue and Todd was active in leadership at the church. We have three children: Bethany (6), Joshua (4 ½) and Kaitlyn (2 ½).

How did you come to know Jesus? What does that journey look like? 
I (Karen) was introduced to the Lord through a friend in middle school. She invited me to her church and retreats and my interest grew through attending these events. I was struggling with some difficult relationships at that time, and I began reading through the Scriptures. I began to see the hope and life that God wanted to offer me through Christ and I was drawn to Him. I received the Lord in seventh grade and He has changed me in significant ways! I went from being hopeless to being filled with true hope and life. He changed the direction my life was going in and continues to draw me closer and closer to Him.

I (Todd) grew up in a Christian home and accepted Jesus as Lord at an early age. Though my family’s church was non-evangelical, I grew steadily in faith. In college I was very active in The Navigators collegiate ministry and grew tremendously in spiritual disciplines, in relationship with Christ, and in heart for ministry. By the time I finished college I felt a call to full-time Christian ministry and advancement of Christ’s kingdom throughout the world.

What drew you to Bosnia? What has been encouraging? What has been difficult?
I (Todd) served one-year on a team in Sophia, Bulgaria with The Navigators as part of the CoMission Project. During that time my heart was burdened for the people of Eastern Europe. So when the C&MA entered Bosnia in 1998 I began to regularly pray and follow the team’s ministry there. God’s call to us to be servants and ministers to the Bosnian people has kept us there. We had a challenging first term, but God was so faithful and good to us amidst the challenges we faced as a family. We have been encouraged by the relationships that God has blessed us with and this has given us much motivation and strength to press on and persevere in serving there. We have relationships with several non-believers and feel like the Lord has given us many opportunities to share His love with them through our words and actions. We have faced a lot of difficulties in learning the language, adjusting to a new culture, significant health concerns, and some challenging relationships with people back in the States which we have had to navigate through.

What do you enjoy about Bosnian culture? The people?
The culture has a lot of depth and history which makes it very rich. The culture reflects the influence of various people groups because of its long and diverse history including years under Ottoman (Turkish) rule, Austro-Hungarian rule, and Communist rule. It is a place where East meets West and thus (where) several religious groups including Islam, Orthodoxy, and Catholicism express their faith and culture.

We also appreciate the Bosnians’ generous hospitality and love for children.

How does partnership with various church fellowships enhance your vision for Bosnia? How does it help in ministry?
Our partnership churches have been a tremendous encouragement to our team in Bosnia Herzegovina. Their prayers, financial support, communication, and visits have a very real impact upon our ministry. They enable us to undertake ministry efforts that we otherwise would be unable to do on our own. And their ideas, perspective, and prayers help to enlarge our vision for what God can and will do among these people He dearly loves.

When do you return to Bosnia? (If your children are in school, how does that work in Bosnia?)
We plan to return at the end of June 2014. Bethany will attend a public Bosnian Catholic school for 2nd grade and Joshua will attend a Bosnian private kindergarten. We are having our children attend the public school system as long as it is a good fit for them.

How can we pray for you? For your family? For the ministry? For Bosnia?
Health and healing for Todd (headaches, seizures) and Joshua (allergies, chronic ear infections).
Strength and grace for this time while Todd is away on tour.
Spiritual and emotional renewal for us during this year in the States.
Spiritual conversations and relational growth with our friends and clients at The Source.
Salvation of all of our non-believing friends, particularly Lily* who is actively seeking and
 going to church, and Victoria* who is employed at The Source. (*names changed for privacy)
For God to reveal Himself to the Bosnian people through healing (spiritual, physical, emotional).
A renewed vision for mission and outreach within the Bosnian national church.

Can vs. Will

Do you have any stories in the Bible that bother you? You know the kind I am talking about- stories that seem out of place or that present a picture of God or Jesus that appears to be inconsistent with other sections of Scripture. One story that falls into this category for me is in Matthew 21. We ran across it recently in our journey through the One-Year Chronological Bible.

In this particular story, Jesus and his followers are strolling down the road toward Jerusalem. On the way, Jesus notices a fig tree in full leaf, and since he’s hungry, he goes over in search of a nice fig or two for breakfast. When he discovers that the tree has no fruit, he curses the tree, which seems a little odd, and then even more strange, the entire tree shrivels up in short order. The book of Mark also records this story,
adding a side note that figs were not even in season. So, picture some confusion on the disciples faces, as their teacher appears to become upset over a tree not having a fruit at a time of year when no one expected fruit anyway! (Incidentally, the Mark passage seems to intentionally link the fig tree to the 1st century temple system as a vivid illustration of something that appears to be alive but is really dead, but that’s another story for another newsletter.)

As you might imagine, the disciples are surprised when the tree withers so quickly. Jesus responds to them with some oft-quoted words, “I assure you, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do thing like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, “May God lift you up and throw you into the sea!’ and it will happen. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Jesus makes a very bold statement about the connection of our faith in prayer to a response of God’s power. He tells his followers that if they believe God will do it, it will happen.

This is where the story has always bothered me. Jesus seems to invite his followers to pray for things- even irrational things- and expect God to come through. While I was wrestling through my theology on this one, I felt like the Holy Spirit revealed something new for me. The words I heard were, “You believe God can do things. But do you believe He will?” This was a humbling moment, for if you look at the passage, Jesus invites us to believe not only that God can do these things, but more importantly that he will!

So I believe that God can heal people. I believe God can reach my lost neighbors. I believe God can bring transformation into lives and change their future. But do I believe that He will? Do you believe that He will? As we enter an exciting season as a church, and as we gather for times of prayer, what would it mean for us to believe not only that God can, but the He will? This is the faith Jesus calls us to. This is the kind of faith I want to develop.

May we encourage and inspire one another to believe in prayer that God WILL.

Praying for and with you-
Pastor Nick