Eugene, 'The gigabit City'
The Eugene collaborative, tech-community has been named a high-speed “Gigabit City,” beating out 47 other cities, receiving national recognition and “$150,000 in grants to launch education and workforce development projects using high-speed, high-capacity Internet connections.” This provides faster internet connections & capabilities that will allow for enhanced distance learning, telemedicine initiates to improve health care in rural areas & sustain& enhance continued tech and economic growth in Eugene & the surrounding cities. Some government leaders consider this an answer to prayer for our growing economy & tech sector. The Eugene mayor also said, it will “usher in our next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators, artists & educators.” (RG 3/15/17).
every child | Caring for kids in foster care
A boy newly placed in foster care and in a Jesus-following family struggles with reading. The foster parents and their friends began to pray for God help him learn, grow in his reading ability, and for him to have an openness to Jesus. Just three weeks into his stay with them, he picked up a Children’s Bible, of his own initiative, and wanted to read to them! He was engaged in the story, asking lots of curious questions. And he read more fluently than his foster parents had heard him read! He wanted to read the Bible the next morning too. Praise the Lord for small victories, and keep praying for this boy’s desire to read & know Jesus, and other vulnerable children in foster care!
extraordinarily low unemployment rate
Economists at the Employment Department are calling our unemployment rate “extra-ordinary!” Every January, the unemployment rate is typically at its highest; but this January, it dropped to an all-time low of 4.4%! “This is the lowest rate since comparable rates have been produced, starting in 1990,” said Brian Rooney, local economist. It’s created an uptick in wages, specifically for entry level jobs because business are ‘competing for workers’ and searching for qualified applicants (RG 3/8/17).
arts | favor & Mentoring
We’ve prayed for healing to come through the arts & for artists to mentor young artists. The president of the Pacific Rim Art Guild is now mentoring a young boy through DHS. He’s spending multiple hours a week with him & has found photography to be a means of healing, connection & mentoring!
We also prayed for Christian authors in our area; and one local author, after submitting a manuscript to a new publisher, reported a more than favorable response. They were so impressed that they gave him a two book offer!
god's continued faithfulness to our churches
A church prayed to be a place where people & families come to be together and find Jesus. God is giving them ideas and strategies to accomplish this goal! Another church prayed to connect with more people who don’t know the Lord, and that they’d connect in their community. Now twelve different young men are attending their services regularly who don’t know Jesus yet! Another small church prayed they’d grow, and now God has added three new families!
A church in West Eugene prayed for their pastor to begin recording music again, and he’s doing just that! God answered the prayer of a church in North Eugene by providing a new worship leader, who is also serving as a connection for more young people to participate in their gatherings. And a church in Coburg reported the healing of stage four cancer! God is doing great things in His Church across our valley!
new lane community college president
Dr. Margaret ‘Marge’ Hamilton was named the next LCC president by the board’s unanimous decision. She’s committed to giving every student opportunity, creating more career paths for students, and establishing partnerships. She also has experience addressing the college’s biggest challenges, such as it’s enrollment slump (RG Feb 9). The LCC paper, The Torch, expressed feelings of excitement and optimism, as Dr. Hamilton “stood out from all the rest” of the qualified applicants. We prayed for months that God would guide this selection, and based on the initial reports, it sounds like He has done so.
Care for school staff & students
After a presentation at an elementary school around special needs support, a young boy with Tourette Syndrome shared openly with his class. Classmates then responded with
affirmation, acceptance and understanding toward him. This answer comes after we prayed for support and encouragement for students with special needs.
We prayed for school administrators to foster a caring community & teamwork with their staff. And that month, according to various staff, Classified Staff Appreciation week at Prairie Mountain was “its best in 13 years!”
more community answers | winter 2017
God’s Exposing Light | Police and Fire officials have recognized unique instances when child abuse was exposed in recent weeks. We prayed for God to expose abusive situations and heal those involved over the last few months on the prayer guide.
Praying Sports Teams | A track team of 100 middle & high school students is gearing for this year’s season. A young student approached her coach, asking if the students could have a regular prayer time between school & practice. The coach, a Jesus-follower, eagerly agreed. Much to his delight, he’d been praying about a student-led prayer time that week! Students are being mentored & being lights on their teams as we pray!
Media | Experiencing God’s Love We’ve prayed for members of the media to experience God’s love first hand through the church, and at Christmas time, some did! An accomplished pianist, believer and employee of a local media outlet invited executives & board members of that media outlet to his home over the holidays. The intent was to play Christmas music that celebrated Jesus and bless his colleagues. After the in-home concert, several of the leaders shared that they were very encouraged by the music and gathering!
Grace for Homeless Volunteers | It was a harsh winter, & Egan Warming Centers were open double the number of nights compared to past years. Besides usual conflicts, a site leader reported noticeably peaceful nights, despite the extended nights.
Protection at Super Bowl Watch Party | We pray for safety at our sporting events, and we may not tangibly see many of those ‘answers of protection.’ However, we saw a glimpse on Super Bowl Sunday at a restaurant. An altercation escalated at BJ’s during the game, resulting in a gunshot & lockdown. No one was injured, the man was quickly apprehended, & an off-duty officer was on site before the incident occurred.
positive Equipping for parents
We pray consistently for families in our community: for strong, healthy family units and equipped, effective parents. Since last spring, 145 parents received support from a new parenting education program: Triple P - Positive Parenting Program. The collaboration provides positive parenting messages & free opportunities for families, like parenting sessions at doctors’ offices & blogs. The goal is to strengthen Lane County’s overall parenting education & support. It plans to expand this year (RG 1/30/17). Praise the Lord for this avenue of training & support for parents!
Honoring our first responders
Last month we prayed ‘for community members to honor, support & encourage our local first responders.’ That same month, Springfield Mayor Christine Lundberg named the Springfield Police Department as the city’s 2016 Employee of the Year, honoring them for their service. The crowd responded with a standing ovation, and community members showed an outpouring of appreciation on their Facebook page.
Dhs Christmas party
In December, Jesus-followers had the opportunity to serve alongside DHS workers to provide a Christmas party for children in foster care to celebrate with their biological parents. The relationship that Every Child has already established with DHS made this opportunity a possibility, and God’s faithfulness & generosity covered the preparations & the party itself. Three weeks before the party, DHS received news that their Christmas present supplier could not provide any gifts this year. DHS’s tearful news to Every Child was, "no presents this year". But our God, who sees, provides and foresees, already had a plan of provision in the works. Less than one hour before the phone call, Every Child received word from a small, local church with very good news. They received a donation from Toys R Us that was far too big for their church, and wanted to see if Every Child happened to need any toys. The need was supplied before the call, so the "bad news" phone call ended in hope, wonder, & exceeded expectations! Another organization also stepped in to donate gifts so the party could be full of merry giggles.
During the party, one little girl received just the right gift, and this is what she had to say, "I kept trying to find Santa's number to call & ask him for my Christmas present. I never found the number, but He got it for me anyway!" That’s just one example of the specific ways the Lord is seeing & meeting the needs of children. The day was full of the touches, glimpses and winks of the God who cares so deeply for each of these little ones, families and DHS workers too! One DHS case manager welled up with tears, saying "You all are just so generous. I can't believe how generous you all are - I have never seen anything like it." From fostering and caring for children, to supporting DHS workers, God is answering the prayer to care for vulnerable children in many ways through His people! And we’re grateful this work is touching these little lives with the lasting revelation that “a lot of people love me,” (a boy’s comment to his foster mom after the Christmas party).
Athletes praying together
We’ve prayed for Jesus-following athletes & coaches to be inspirational examples, and for Christian athletes to prioritize their time with God and be bold in their witness. We’ve seen evidence of answers to these prayers through Fellowship of Christian Athletes, as it expands its influence in Junction City. Student athletes are being influenced and coached by believers, and teams are praying together. After one football game, the losing team approached the winning team, & they ended the game in prayer together!
economic growth in 2016
Major business & property deals, new ventures, and resumed production at well-known factories… in 2016.” That’s what the Register Guard had to say about our community’s economic and business sphere this year. As we’ve prayed for God to strengthen our economy and provide more, high paying jobs, here are a some of the ways our economy grew:
- Winnebago reopened the former Country Coach plant, creating 100 new jobs so far.
- The County Unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent in April (the lowest it’s been in 26 years), and leveled out in November at 5.1 percent.
- The Department of Veteran Affairs opened a new medical clinic employing 180 people.
- Commercial real estate, apartment complexes and rises in the Eugene/Springfield area grew in demand, drawing more and more attention from out of state investors.
- Our housing market is the strongest it’s been since pre-recession 2006.
- RAIN, the entrepreneurial mentoring organization, graduated 2 groups of entrepreneurs (we’ve prayed that business leaders would mentor up-and-coming entrepreneurs).
- Lane County food & beverage makers are expected to add 444 jobs by 2024, 13.2% more than 2014 levels.
God is moving to provide good jobs that support families in our community in many ways, & it’s drawing the attention of outside investors as well!
Additionally, Springfield Mayor, Christine Lundberg, reflected on the city’s economic growth in her State of the City Address. She highlighted the new hotel in Glenwood, the rebuild of the Swanson Group Mill, & renovations to the Shoppes at Gateway, which added millions of dollars to the city’s economy. She ended by saying, “After years of working together with the business community and establishing important relationships, we are now set to collaborate on a vision for Springfield’s economic future.” We’ve prayed for collaborative relationships to form between businesses and government, and we’re excited to see how God will use these partnerships (Information from RGM 12/25/16 & 1/13/17).
peace in our streets
The day before, 80+ pastors prayed together for peace in our area during & after Inauguration Day. Two days later, “Police praise peaceful demonstration” headlined the Register Guard’s front page (1/22/16).
The Mission Rebuilt
After the kitchen at the Eugene Mission suffered a devastating fire in June, the new and expanded kitchen opened on Christmas Day! The community support & generosity they received was remarkable. Though there were some large donations, it was mostly the small gifts of many that contributed to the $400,000 rebuild. Now the Mission is enjoying more room, the ability to be more efficient, and a greater capacity to serve more people (156 to 192)! Beyond physical blessing, they said “there was zero compassion fatigue,” as the community support continued to flow through the whole process. We joined our faith with the Mission in July, praying for their remodel and provision. Praise the Lord for His
provision and goodness to turn what’s meant for evil into blessing!
Ice Storm Protection
From down power lines to precariously-hanging tree limbs, county leaders consider it miraculous that our city & county’s public service workers didn’t report any injuries during the ice storm response and clean up in December. They thanked and praised God for His protection over the men and women who went above and beyond during the ice storm.
Declining Abortion rate
According to the CDC, the national abortion rate hasn't been as low as it is now since 1971, two years before Roe V. Wade was established! We've prayed for our area's abortion rate to go down, along with believers across our nation. May this report compel our faith to keep believing and praying for life!
After months of discussion, turmoil, & stalled progress surrounding the new city hall/courthouse negotiations, both the City of Eugene and Lane County agreed on a plan to proceed in building. The decision came at the last meeting of the year. The plan is intended to boost downtown revitalization, and it will reserve space for an expanded year-round farmers’ market, benefiting local farms. We’ve prayed since July for God to lead these negotiations with wisdom and peace, & that the public would recognize good decisions.
One government leader made these comments about December’s breakthrough agreement. “It really feels like we’re in a good place with the amount of work that’s been accomplished and the decisions that were made.” There are still many decisions to come, that we’ll keep praying for, but we rejoice in this significant step at the end of 2016.
New Bethel Superintendent
For months we’ve prayed for the selection of the Bethel School District Superintendent. On December 19th, the school board appointed Chris Parra to the position unanimously. Parra’s experience ranges from teaching to principal positions across many age groups, and from special education to HR and Teach & Learning oversight. She’s known to be consistent and clear in decision-making and communicating. We trust the Lord heard and answered our prayers, and we bless Parra as she takes on this leadership role.
National recognition for operation 365
Eugene & Lane County elected and civic leaders received national recognition for their work in Operation 365, which we consider also an answer to prayer! Last year, we prayed along with the government initiative that aimed to house 365 veterans in 2015. Through the diligent work of community leaders, & the prayers of God’s people, 404 veterans were housed by the end of the year!
Eugene’s Mayor, City Manager, & County Commissioner, Pat Farr, were invited to an event at the White House to be honored for their efforts to house homeless veterans! The First Lady hosted the event, & Mayor Piercy shared this from her speech: “She said monuments & parades are good. But there’s nothing that shows more respect for our vets than being sure they have a home to live in.” God’s favor marked this initiative, and we’re delighted to have played a part in it through prayer.
Safe & Peaceful Learning Environments
We’ve prayed for “safe and thriving learning environments, & for every student to have peace at school,” & we’ll continue to pray in these ways. We received this story from a Bethel school counselor (and a strategic team member) that provides a window into one of the many individual ways God is answering this prayer:
A new student moved into the area from Texas, and started attending her school. During lunch, the new student said that she likes it there, and “feels safe at school,” whereas she didn’t at her previous school. She then pointed out what she’d noticed about the way kids who seem “different” are treated there: “no one makes fun of them here.”
dditionally, the lack of violence on the UO campus during post-election protests attests to God’s protection as well. Join us as we continue to pray for peace, safety, & thriving environments for every student in every grade level. God is answering more than we know!
Every child stats
Every Child is a continually unfolding answer to prayer, as more churches & people are stepping in to care for our community’s most vulnerable children in foster care. Here are some of stats:
· Over 20 churches are engaged by way of giving, volunteering, training people, fostering children, offering tangible goods or DHS hospitality.
· More than 150 people have been trained to care for children in foster care through Every Child’s training that began in August.
· DHS now has stockpiles of welcome boxes, waiting for kids who newly enter foster care.
· The Gateway & Willamette St. DHS offices both received complete makeovers, and the West 11th office’s makeover is scheduled for January!
· Six churches joined resources and manpower to transform all 12 visitation rooms at the Willamette Street DHS office in October! Now kids can meet with their biological parents in a hopeful & inviting environment.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure & faultless is this: to care for orphans & widows in their distress. . .“
thanksgiving worship & meals
On November 13th, about a thousand people from our area gathered for Community-Wide Worship & Prayer. People from many different congregations, backgrounds, & expressions were represented. We spent time in worship & thanksgiving, as well as humbly asking God to touch our nation & community. We were honored to have Hispanic, Japanese, and Chinese pastors join us, and we look forward to more connection & relationship. We consider these times of the utmostvalue. Thank you for participating & praying!
The week following, 1,064 Thanksgiving Meal boxes were distributed by 35 churches to families in our community. Connections with individuals & families were formed, ongoing school partnerships were strengthened, & the Church put feet to our prayers by meeting some of the practical needs of our neighbors. On top of this, other churches organized similar outreaches. Thanksgiving & Christmas belong to our King! May our message and joy be bright & evident!
project hope 2016
This year, more churches & organizations worked together to serve more children than ever before! Project Hope is the largest outreach the churches in our community do together. Through our unified efforts, it has a tremendous impact on schools & families. We prayed for people to see Jesus’ love & message clearly, and for increased school partnerships as a result of Project Hope.
Project Hope School Work Day | From Junction City to Eugene and Springfield, schools all across our community received love, and hundreds of hours of volunteer manpower from local churches. Churches chose neighborhood schools, and volunteers devoted their Saturday to painting, weed-wacking, window-washing, bark-spreading, yard work & more! These few hours on the last Saturday in August went a long way, and more than 36 school facilities found themselves better-prepared for the new school year.
Back-to-School Giveaway | This year, over 45 churches and ministries joined together, partnering with more than 50 businesses, restaurants and hairdressers for Project Hope. In our sixth year, together we provided new shoes, backpacks, school supplies, socks, haircuts and small meals for more than 3,000 children and their families. Serving K-12 students, representing four school districts, in five giveaway locations, happy volunteers provided our guests with a joyful time.
Here are a few ways Jesus' love met people at Project Hope:
- A little boy about his new shoes: "I'm never taking these off!"
- It was “fun, exciting, awesome, one of the greatest moments of my life!”
- Some children took off their shoes from last year's giveaway, only to hug this year's to their chest, and immediately put on their new socks and shoes.
- One grandmother said, "My heart was so full of thanksgiving... he really needed what he got."
- "Extremely helpful for us while we are struggling."
- Some families received prayer, and at least one woman chose to believe and follow Jesus at the Kids' Fair!
Progress in Providing Mental Health Care
As we’ve shared in the past, concern for the mentally ill surfaces in many sectors and from many strategic teams. Over the last six months, we’ve seen significant movement around this issue. Here are the new updates in this unfolding answer to prayer:
· Three mental health professionals were hired to care for the mentally ill within the Lane County Jail. Upon seeing the need, these care providers wanted to provide more services for those suffering within our jail and requested to do so. They received approval, and more services are now being offered!
· A “Mental Health Court” is being established. Its purpose is to provide care and next steps for mental health offenders who are facing consequences with the law. Next steps include treatment and counseling versus solely receiving a jail sentence. Not only will this serve to rehabilitate offenders, but it will also alleviate pressure from the court system.
God is working & Every Child is moving ahead quickly! Since July’s “soft start”, fourlocal churches provided three DHS waiting room makeovers. Other churches have offered hospitality, food and encouragement to DHS workers. The new Every Child training team hosted two equipping sessions for parents exploring foster care. Also in July, 50 pastors & leaders attended a lunch to hear the vision. On top of this, our advisers from Portland say we’re 6 months ahead of schedule! We are rejoicing in the ways God is authoring His multi-faceted answer to last November’s prayer request: for Christ-followers to care for vulnerable children.
Government Union Agreements
A government leader close to the recent union negotiating efforts reported that the process and the outcomes were "the best they've been in decades." He shared that they were productive, yielding very good outcomes. This leader noted that this is a definite and very encouraging answer to prayer for those serving in our local government, and this is specifically what we prayed for in June!
September 2016 update:
We prayed for the various government union negotiations to be marked with peaceful, clear communication and good outcomes. The reports of just that keep coming in from government leaders. The city manager was very pleased with the agreement with the Eugene Police Department, and county commissioners called two separate union agreements “monumental steps forward that have not happened before!” These productive negotiations represent harmony among our government sectors, as well as care and provision for our public servants and their families.
We prayed for the Track and Field Olympic Trials at Hayward Field. The report from the eight-day event was nothing but good! It was reported as being marked by “record-setting competition, soaring attendance figures, and an impressive showing from the Oregon track program.”
UO track athlete, Devon Allen won his event and qualified to compete on the US team in the 2016 Rio Olympics, after recovering from a major injury in 2015. Beyond this overcoming story, God is getting glory in this athlete’s life. The day before he qualified for the Olympics, he was baptized by his FCA leader, Josh Bidwell, while surrounded by family, friends and fellow athletes. We’ll call that an answer to the prayers for the Trials and for Christ-following athletes to be examples in our community and beyond!
Every Child Launch
A new initiative that calls churches to work together to care for vulnerable children in our community has started! We have been praying since December that Christ- followers would care for children at-risk.
The stories of God moving the hearts of people to support children, families, and staff within the foster care system are many and overwhelming. Churches are adopting DHS waiting rooms to give them makeovers, resulting in dozens of grateful DHS staff and foster parents. Churches are eager to serve, tangible goods are being donated, funding sources are being secured, and Jesus-followers from many churches are opening their homes to children in foster care. The Lord is moving this initiative forward quickly. This is just the beginning of churches working together in much bigger and creative ways - Every Child is soft-launching this summer!
Royal Family Kids Camp | Surrounded by a Family
Here’s a further example of how God is moving Christ-followers to care for at-risk children, and leading others to support those families. It’s also an answer to prayer from two church prayer lists!
Royal Family Kids Camp is a camp for vulnerable children who have been placed in foster care. Counselors spend the whole week loving campers and treating them like royalty. Emilie, a camp counselor befriended and bonded with a sweet little, shy girl. The day after her return from camp, Emilie learned that she knows the little girl’s soon-to-be new foster family, the Holub’s! That same day, the Emilie and the Holub’s connected and surprised the little girl! It’s uncommon for counselors to connect with the children they bond with so deeply at camp, let alone the next day! The girl was completely surprised, and this is just the beginning of more Jesus-loving adults pouring into this little life.
The counselor, too, will be a support to the couple on their journey in foster care. After the fact, Emilie learned that she was an answer to a prayer the Holub’s prayed with the little girl before camp: asking for someone to befriend her at camp. If God so orchestrated the care of this one little girl, will he not continue to move heaven and earth for the hundreds of children in foster care as His people partner with Him?
God’s Blessing on the NCAA Golf Tournament
In May, we prayed for God’s blessing and protection to be on the national sporting events in our community. In June, Oregon’s head golf coach shared how he saw God’s blessing on the NCAA Golf Tournament in the following tangible ways. The director of the NCAA tournament on multiple occasions, with tears in his eyes, commented on how smooth and enjoyable the event was, and that not one complaint was filed (which never happens)! Athletes competed with good sportsmanship and the tournament was competitive and entertaining. Additionally, the television ratings were three times greater than what is typical. On top of that, the Ducks left as NCAA champions! We simply prayed for God’s blessing, and the result was abundant.
Behind the scenes, the coaches saw God at work in the lives of their athletes in many ways, making their victory all the more sweet. More than a year ago, our strategic team prayed that God would expose anything that needed to be purified in the team. Immediately afterward the Lord began a yearlong process of refining the team, and unbeknownst to them, preparing them for the NCAA tournament. It was this purifying work that set the stage for God’s blessing to flow and the Ducks to take the title!
A Passion for Prayer | Young People Equipped to Pray
More than 30 young adults from 12 different churches participated in a three-week prayer and discipleship school hosted by the Regional Prayer Center. Teaching included knowing God in the secret place, being free from the things that hinder our prayer life, and tapping into God’s purposes in prayer by praying in Jesus name and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Students left more aware of God’s love, hungry to pray, and excited about partnering in God’s purpose through prayer. Young people were equipped in prayer, stepped into new places of prayer for our community, and one of the students even experienced a significant physical healing the last day of the school. We are rejoicing!
EUGENE'S AA1 ECONOMIC REVIEW
Eugene was recently given an Aa1 bond rating by Moody’s Investors Service. This is the highest rating outside of the AAA rating, which is generally reserved for a handful of larger cities. This rating means that the City’s credit is judged to be of high quality and very low risk. This translates into high investor interest in the City’s bonds, and results in lower interest costs. According to the City’s Municipal Advisor, financial firms strongly participated in bidding to buy Eugene’s bonds, further affirming that the City of Eugene is one of the most financially solid and well-managed cities in the United States.
Bond ratings serve as a report card, reflecting a city’s commitment to financial accountability and stewardship. In issuing their report, Moody’s states: “The rating outlook is stable, and reflects the expectation that the city will continue to manage its finances well…” God is strengthening our economy through civil servants’ work, and as His people pray!
answers in our churches | Children & the good news
Most of the testimonies coming from churches this month have to do with children choosing to follow Jesus at VBS and summer camps!
- One leader’s great grand-daughter heard the gospel at Camp Harlow. Now she’s encouraging her parents to go to church with her!
- At a church Sports Camp, 9 kids received salvation!
- One church prayed for a young man who went to a Child Evangelism training. During his outreach at the county fair, he led kids & teens to Jesus!
- Girl in foster care who attended Royal Family Kids' Camp gave her life to Jesus.
- Other churches are reporting more opportunities to share their faith.
- Another church gained new worship and prayer leaders when they prayed. Churches are also seeing more prayer being mobilized!
Media | new Publisher | Good News Stories in the Paper
On June 11th, the Register Guard announced that Logen Molen was named as the new publisher chief executive officer. The publisher oversees the entire management of the paper including finances, staff, and community influence. We asked God to lead the selection of that person; that they would be wise and unifying! He’s said to be a man of integrity and to work well with people
Additionally, the Register Guard has highlighted many “good news stories,” including a story of a teen overcoming homelessness; two ways we’re praying. May God use every media outlet in our area to declare good news and highlight His ways.
Health Care | Progress toward an agreement
RAIN, a business accelerator designed to assist new startups, welcomed 9 new entrepreneurs and startups to its new mentoring program. It’s designed to provide instruction and support to “early-stage companies with potential to grow in Oregon and generate revenue outside the state.” As we shared in previous praise reports, the network is a collaborative program among universities, government and businesses that help create companies and jobs in the southern Willamette Valley. One of the first requests on the prayer guide, was for God to grow and strengthen new startups that would benefit our community, and for business and government collaboration. The growth and effectiveness of RAIN may be a key element of God’s answer to the way we’re praying.
RAIN | More Entrepreneurial Startups
RAIN (Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network), a business accelerator designed to assist new startups, welcomed 9 new entrepreneurs and startups to its new 16-week intensive class and mentoring program. It’s designed to provide instruction and support to “early-stage companies with potential to grow in Oregon and generate revenue outside the state.” This is the first accelerator class in RAIN’s new home near the Eugene Public Library. As we shared in previous praise reports, the network is a collaborative program among government, businesses and universities that help create companies and jobs in the southern Willamette Valley. When we first started praying through One Church – One Day, we asked God to grow and strengthen new startups that would benefit our community, and for collaborative partnerships between government and business. We see the growth and effectiveness of RAIN as a key element of God’s answer to the ways we are praying.
THE DECLINING UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
When we started praying last year, our community's unemployment rate was 5.9%, where more recent numbers show it at 4.8%; the lowest it has been in five years! This significant drop in unemployment in a little more than a year means more jobs and economic growth in Eugene, Springfield and the surrounding areas!
police & 911 Staffing
We have been praying for the 12 police vacancies at the Eugene Police Department to be filled, and for successful transitions from the police academy to the streets. The current police academy is full, which should significantly fill the police vacancies in Eugene as those in training graduate and become officers. The academy hasn’t been full in years!
We asked God for 911 workers to have strength, peace and wisdom, and for more to be hired; an urgent need. The center is improving their work environment and training, which is contributing to the peace and well-being of the emergency dispatchers. And recent new hires have made the call center the most aptly-staffed it’s been in months.
From Health Care and the Church, to Government and Police & Fire, the complexities and current issue of mental health are a great prayer need and relevant issue that continue to come up in Strategic Team meetings. We are praying for doctors, government leaders, public servants, and Jesus-followers to find effective ways to care for those affected by mental illness. We are also praying for God to lead the creation of a new Mental Health Liaison to serve those struggling with mental illness throughout our community. The collaborative task force working to create the Mental Health Liaison is quickly moving forward in the following ways:
- An Ambulance company joined the effort in March
- A new, community paramedic vehicle is set to hit the streets in July, and it will serve as a Pre-Cahoots and police intervention service
- A center is being formed for those who have incidents due to mental health disorders. It will provide more supports and care than a hospital or the jail. Mental health professionals will be available 24/7 starting in May. The staff at this center will be more equipped to serve this population and provide greater assistance in helping individuals pursue next steps and rehabilitation.
Answers in OUr churches
Salt & Light
A church downtown is seeing new life and community grow in their church, as 50 - 60 people living at the Mission or in sponsor homes started attending their church. The congregation has embraced them with open arms, and long-time churchgoers are being transformed by the way God is moving in their lives so quickly.
A church in North Eugene chose to pray specifically that they would effectively reach people in their immediate neighborhood. As they prayed, more and more, they formed new and stronger relationships with their neighbors.
We received many good reports from Easter gatherings, and here’s one of them: A pastor coached his son’s soccer team this spring. During the season, he made relationship with one particular family. On Easter they came to his church, heard the message he presented about Christ. and made decisions to follow Jesus!
Multiple churches are praying for a sense of community to grow. As they pray, new small groups are beginning, other community groups are growing, and one leader said, “people are getting to know one another again.”
"viva les arts"
God Activity in Progress
In January, we prayed that God would guide discussions and decisions regarding the Jacob’s Gallery at the Hult Center. On January 31st, the gallery closed. In February, we asked God to
· “restore the economy of art: that people would invest in art, create a demand for art, and that the business of art would bless are community,”
· help “friendships and collaboration between artists” to grow so that art would benefit in our community, and
· keep directing the Jacob’s Gallery discussion, and for the space to be God-honoring.
On February 4th, just days after we distributed the new prayer guide, the Eugene Weekly released their headlining story: “Viva Les Arts: Artists Come Together, Who’s Going to Pay for the Arts?” The article highlighted the three main requests featured on our February Prayer Guide.
While we didn’t pray for the gallery to close, our Arts Strategic Team believes this is an opportunity for God to do a new thing in the Arts in our community and is, in that way, an answer to prayer. The Eugene weekly reported that the Jacob’s Gallery discussions are prompting artists to come together for the future of visual arts in our “arts town”, rather than operating independently and in competition. As we prayed. 100 artists participated in one discussion regarding the future of the gallery, and as some would say, the future of the Arts in our community. And Christian artists are joining the discussion (you may even be able to spot a few of our strategic team members in a photo taken at one of the meetings). We’ve prayed for Jesus-following artists to participate in the greater art community!
Our strategic team emphasized the need for new vitality in the business and economy of art, and the Eugene Weekly reiterated this by explaining, “Eugene has an art-making, but not art-buying public.” When the Arts thrive, our economy, artists, creativity, tourism, and what could be created to reflect the Lord’s beauty thrives as well. A thriving arts community contributes to an overall thriving community.
The story is still unfolding, discussions are still happening, and God activity is in process as His people pray. The Eugene Weekly’s article reveals we’re praying in relevant ways about things that are touching our community. It’s a pivotal time for the arts in the Eugene area, and our prayers are timely. Artists, businesses, and government leaders are determining what to do with the visual arts and how to move forward after the Jacob’s Gallery closure. We’re praying for a new season for the Arts, and as Mayor Piercy said, that “this moment of change with the Jacobs [will be used] to do something really important and innovative in the visual arts for/with our city.”
In February, we prayed that God would draw women with unexpected pregnancies to Dove Medical and that every woman would decide to keep her baby. We received this report from Dove Medical, following the month we prayed for them: “We are having one of the busiest months ever as far as patient load. We served 51 women a total of 94 times, and we had several opportunities to pray with patients facing critical decisions. One day, we saw 5 women who all got ultrasounds! That same day we hosted a baby shower for 10 women in our Care Net Moms class. One of the women wrote us the most amazing thank you card that really blessed and encouraged our staff. God continues to do amazing things here. Also, another church decided to partner with us and we are continuing to make connections with other churches as well.” New partnerships, new moms celebrating their babies’ lives, and more women coming to Dove Medical to be served and loved. Thank you for praying for Dove Medical!
A vision for blessing extended
EUgene church of god 7th day
From Pastor Ken Knoll
In January of 2000, our congregation purchased a parcel of land just under 3 acres on River Road with the hope and the dream of building for our ministry needs. Our vision was for not just a place to be our center for ministry, but also to be good neighbors to that area and to be a light for Jesus. We made improvements to the land and interacted with homeowners adjacent to our property.
In 2006 we began vision planning with specific plans for building design and where ministry would take place. Our Building Fund was growing and we were optimistic about what God would do among us on that site. We were blessed as we rented other facilities over the years but were looking forward to our own house of ministry.
As we got further into the visioning process, the downturn in the economy weighed against the high cost of building a new facility. We put our plans on hold. In 2010, we had the opportunity to share facilities with Valley River Baptist Church on Willagillespie Road. Through a series of events, including the closing of the doors of that congregation, we were able to purchase that property at a much-reduced rate than we could develop the River Road property.
So what about the River Road property? Were we just going to walk away from that property and the vision we believed God gave us to steward it and use for ministry? We still needed to finish paying for what used to be Valley River Baptist Church. We listed the River Road property and after some time we received inquiry about the property from the City of Eugene. Their expressed interest for the property was to provide for low-income housing. As we understood the proposal, the city of Eugene was acting as a broker for various funding and for various agencies to form a collaborative effort to accomplish the goal of offering affordable housing for low-income families.
The City made an offer. Our congregation accepted. Closing took place on January 29, 2016. Our building in now paid off, and we are celebrated a mortgage burning on February 20. AND it appears that St. Vincent DePaul will be a part of the development team of the new housing project on River Road. Could this be an extension of the vision we had for this property when we purchased it 16 years ago?
But of greater importance to this testimony of God’s great provision is this: Is it possible that the prayers of the greater One Hope Community through the One Church - One Day prayer initiative for the government and for the City of Eugene contributed to this blessing for our church, low income families and the city? Could it be that God is working His will through all of these pieces? I believe He is!
Now that the transaction is complete, I will be watching for what God will do to develop that property and for ways that we can minister to the people who will eventually call it home.
“Pray for Christ-followers to care for children at risk and to support families who care for those children.”
In November, the Family Strategic Team crafted the request above. They prayed this request together and planned to send it out in the December Guide. The next day, a member of the Education Team sent out a text: “My wife and I have prayed and are going to take-in three foster kids. We need your prayers, your support, and the following things . . . ” (paraphrase). Before the prayer request was shared, God answered in this specific instance. More so, a much greater collaboration is currently forming with churches and DHS to create a network for God’s people to engage and meet the great need in the foster care system. Keep praying for God to move His people to care for children and youth at risk; it’s happening!
Good Reports from the Mayor of Eugene
At the Eugene State of the City Address on January 6th, Mayor Kitty Piercy reported on the forward movement and progress made in the city in 2015. Three of the good reports she shared happened to be specific requests we have consistently been praying for on the Community Prayer Guide!
Here’s what she highlighted & three answers to prayer:
1) Operation 365 | In June, we started praying in agreement with the government initiative to house 365 veterans in 2015. As of mid-January, the numbers are in and a total of 404 veterans were housed and cared for in 2015! The City Manager, Jon Ruiz, called this “a satisfying achievement,” as it “has shown an unprecedented level of collaboration and coordination among service providers, municipalities, non-profit organizations, faith-based organizations and individuals.” We regularly pray for collaboration and clear communication within the government, and between government officials, the social sector and businesses too! He ended his report with high hopes for the future, explaining “Operation 365 strengthened existing and established new partnerships,” building “our community muscle [to be] exercised as Eugene prepares for the 2021 World Track and Field Championships” (also something featured on the prayer guide).
2) New Jobs Coming to our Community | Mayor Piercy also highlighted the growth in the local economy, specifically new jobs, tech industry growth, and Eugene being nicknamed “the Silicon Shire.” We prayed regularly for 500+ above average median jobs for our community throughout 2015, and in the last few months multiple new businesses promise many new jobs for our community, including Winnebago and Avago.
- Winnebago announced a new plant will open in Junction City, and the manufacturing plant plans to hire up to 200 new employees in the next 18 months. They plan to pay a good wage and benefits. Lane County Commissioner Jay Bozievich said in a Register Guard article, “There are a lot of folks who used to work in (the motor home) industry who are underemployed” and adding 200 family-wage jobs to a community of 5,000 ... is a huge deal for rural Lane County.” This reveals returning health to the economy after the recession.
- Avago Technologies bought the former Hynix Plant in Eugene, and it’s addition to our county will be a “shot in the arm to high-tech manufacturing in Lane County,” according to a local labor economist with the state Employment Department. Government and business leaders are pleased, it’s been called a “good news story all around,” and said that Avago will be “a great business citizen for our area.” It’s estimated that Avago will provide between 100 and 500 new jobs in the next few years.
3) The “Remarkable” work of the Fire Department | Spontaneously, the mayor also recognized the work of the fire department this year, specifically during the Civic Stadium and Southtown Lanes Fires. Our Strategic Team Member who worked closely on these fires attributes the ease and wisdom they had in dealing with each fire to the many people praying for them. Piercy even commented on the fact that during the Civic Stadium Fire everyone went, “remarkably without injury,” as we shared in a past praise report.
Kids Hearing the Good News: From 5 to 35
Christian Evangelism Fellowship partnered with a Springfield church to reach kids from Riverbend Elementary. They asked the church to join in prayer with them for favor with the school. They found favor with the principal. Next they asked the church to pray for kids to respond. The first week there were 5 children. The next week 8. The following week 12. The next week 20 or so. Then we had a break for Christmas. The first week after Christmas there were 35 children who left school to attend the class. They say, “God has been gracious to answer our prayers for favor and for kids to come and hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
RECONCILIATION, SALVATION & RESTORED RELATIONSHIPS
Stories from our Churches in Winter '15 - '16
After praying for reconciled relationships, one church reported a couple in their 90s being reconciled and their relationship being restored.
Another church prayed for their family and friends by name, asking that they would put their faith in Jesus. As a result, one relative, who had never stepped foot into a church service in 67 years, came to church and chose to follow Jesus!
After praying for relationships to be mended in their churches, a church saw this happen in two different families! One son went out of his way to apologize and reconnect with his family, and another couple reconnected with their grandkids.
A church in South Eugene reached out to pray with a homeless man with whom they have relationship. He was in the hospital and was suffering from serious health problems. The led him to Jesus! They also had a formerly atheist family put their faith in Jesus.
One church reported that around 100 parents attended their parenting conference, and they had a strong marriage conference as well, serving singles, dating, engaged and married couples. 40 people are being discipled, and more people are attending community groups, growing in depth, community and their mission. Six people were baptized in late February.
A church prayed for a 3-year-old with leukemia; he is now considered completely in remission!
A DOUBLE ANSWER
A church prayed for two separate, specific requests: 1) that a widow would find the right people to rent from and bless at the same time, and 2) that an elderly couple would find a live-in nurse. The widow happened to be nurse, and the couple rented a room to her!
Other churches are also recognizing increased unity, a greater culture of prayer, and church growth since they started praying. From Junction City to Springfield and Coburg to South Eugene, God’s people are praying, God is answering, lives are being transformed, and this is just the beginning!
Police & Fire Answers in Winter '15-'16
A "Mental Health Liaison" is being developed now through the collaborative work of the police and fire departments. We started praying for God to give wisdom, strategy and solutions to create a Mental Health Resource for our community in October.
The new vice-president of the Firefighters Union is an integrious Jesus-follower. We’ve prayed: for personal encouragement, good relationships with each other and positive environments for these public servants. And also for union leadership to have wisdom, understanding and good communication with those they lead.
The 911 Center is going through a transformation with new training and better working environment practices are being implemented. We’ve featured 911 workers on the prayer guide regularly!
The police are reporting that people are more friendly and supportive of their service, as we have prayed for increased community support.
"I have to tell you about Civic..."
GOD'S HAND ON THE FIRE DEPARTMENT
Hundreds of people are praying for our police and fire departments through One Church - One Day, and the fire at Civic Stadium provided an opportunity to recognize God’s help, intervention, and answer to our prayers. As he reflected on his 30 years in the fire department and the recent fire at Civic Stadium on June 29th, a strategic team member said, “I have never seen an incident of that scale handled so well or efficiently. Exactly the right people made exactly the right calls at exactly the right time. There were no injuries reported, not even a minor injury recorded in the logbook, and that never happens. That is highly un-natural ... that is supernatural!”
“How Eugene’s Tech Scene Has Exploded in the Last Six Months”
A recent article from the Portland Business Journal nearly reads like a Praise Report when compared with the Business requests on the Community Prayer Guide we’ve been praying for the last nine months.
Business & Government Collaboration: According to the president of Technology Association of Oregon, “the tech community in Eugene is remarkably collaborative” and “companies are entering new markets together,” whereas companies were functioning independently two years ago. Now they’re working together “as a community to address challenges and seize opportunities. The “culture of collaboration extends beyond the private sector,” as the City of Eugene, Lane Workforce Partnership, Lane Council of Governments and EWEB worked together to establish helpful services. As a result of the growth and collaboration, “Eugene is attracting larger amounts of angel and venture capital.” We started praying for “the government and business relationship to be welcoming, positive, and productive for a local economy” in February.
Strong Startups: Last month in a collaborative effort, the “largest gathering to-date of the tech and entrepreneurial community” convened in the Springfield to support early stage startup companies. We prayed for entrepreneurs to collaborate with, connect resources for, and mentor younger business leaders and new startups.
More Jobs: Fast Company, a national business magazine, highlighted this growth by including Eugene on their Top 10 List of Up-and-Coming Cities for Tech Jobs. We’ve prayed for more “above average median jobs” since February. The Portland Business Journal article ends with the encouragement, “to continue to build on this momentum, the collective challenge to companies and organizations in Eugene is to continue to strengthen the ecosystem so companies can stay in the region as they grow. And from what we’ve seen in the past six months, the community is tackling this challenge head-on.”
Health Care: Back to the Healing Mission of Jesus
In May, we prayed “for the mission of Peacehealth to be fully engaged by hospital leaders, doctors, nurses and staff” and for the local health care community to partner with the Christian community. A member of our Health Care strategic team reported the following direct answer:
“Recent changes in Peacehealth senior leadership have created a renewed commitment to the Peacehealth Mission:
“We carry on the healing mission of Jesus Christ by promoting personal and community health, relieving pain and suffering, and treating each person in a loving and caring way”
Over the past few years the focus on delivering on our mission promise had diminished. In a system-wide gathering, the new leadership emphasized the return to our Mission, the embodiment of Christ, reaching out to the vulnerable, and empowering our communities to live healthy lives. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace prayed over the leadership, dedicating them to the work of the Mission. Caregivers were truly encouraged by this renewal, and have already begun to increase the visible presence of this commitment, posting the Mission statement, including it in communications, and reengaging the faith community leaders in a collective vision for health of body, mind and spirit. This is an answer to prayer.”
Health Care: Mentoring & Prayer for Patients
A physician and member of our Health Care Strategic Team reports that more mentors are seeking to help young students grow in their faith in the medical field. Two of those students, one an undergrad shadowing a physician and another young hospital employee were able to pray with patients. We’ve been praying for doctors to learn to pray for their patients & mentor younger students since June.
Healing from Tourette Syndrome Symptoms
A church in Springfield prayed for a boy struggling from Tourette Syndrome, severe headaches, a significant tic, and social issues. After two months of prayer, “his dad reported that the Tourette symptoms had miraculously cleared, his son was able to return to school, and he is doing great.” His father, who is still exploring faith himself, considers it a miracle and answer to prayer!
Involvement in Schools
Two churches reported increase involvement of youth workers on school campuses, resulting in students attending church programs and at least four salvations. We’re praying for this on the community prayer guide!
Increase in Numbers
A small church of about 50 members prayed that God would increase their numbers, and there numbers are doing so! They reported 93 in attendance one day. Another church prayed that 100 kids would go to camp; 107 attended.
Families Praying Together
One church prayer coordinator prayed for families in her church, specifically that parents would sign up with their kids to pray on their prayer day. That month four families signed up to pray with their kids!
Ministry with U of O Athletes
We prayed for those ministering to U of O athletes in October, and we received the report the following month that there were opportunities for gospel conversations and at least two athletes made decisions to follow Christ!
Jesus Shared in the Arts
From First Friday Art Walks at the Pacific Rim Art Guild, to open mics and coffee shops, believers are entering art shows & marketplaces. Artists report having more God conversations surrounding their art in the last few months.
Officers Protected During Shooting Incident
Three deputy sheriffs and a sergeant came under fire from a suspect during an incident in Cottage Grove in September. Multiple shots were fired and one deputy sheriff was wounded. He is now recovering well. Officers involved gave credit to God for his protection during the heavy gunfire, that there were not more injuries, and that the situation was not much worse. Your police and fire first responders thank you for praying for them!
Answers to Prayer in Our Churches: Summer 2015
- During a prayer gathering, a church prayed for lost family members whom they have been praying for years to be saved. That week, a woman who did not attend that prayer meeting, reported 3 generations of her family coming to a church gathering for the first time. She’s been praying for them for 42 years.
- For several months, a church prayed for a worship leader for their second campus. A new worship leader was hired in July!
- In July, we prayed “that parents would engage relationally with their kids and become students of who they are.” One parent reviewed the prayer request at the end of the month and was brought to tears when she realized this is what God worked in her life this month and that she and her daughter benefited from the prayers of the saints.