News

    We are excited to introduce to you the Summer Staff who will serve alongside our Children's and Youth directors and volunteers this summer.

ELEMENTARY SUMMER STAFF: Heidi Buller & Jesse Micu

Heidi Buller was born and raised in Fresno. She is a licensed cosmetologist who graduated from beauty school in October, 2016. She currently works in a salon as a hairstylist twice a week. Heidi is very passionate about bringing the gospel to children. She has served in her church as a preschool teacher for 3 years. She grew up doing several Good News Clubs in public schools across Fresno. Heidi enjoys getting outside and enjoying the Lord's work of art. She is looking forward to seeing kids be so eager to learn the Word of God and come to church each Sunday. Heidi cannot wait to serve God more through this amazing ministry! You can be praying that Heidi trusts more and more in God's plan for her life.

Jesse Micu is a born-and-raised Fresnan. He attends Fresno Pacific University, and will receive a B.A. degree for Church Music in August. Jesse has been involved in youth and worship ministries for several churches around the valley, most recently as the Junior High Ministry Director at The Bridge Church. Through the summer, Jesse is looking forward to how God will use his experiences and passions to love and bless children. He is hoping to acquire more guitar students and have time to perform locally with friends and family in coffee shops. Jesse is recently engaged to Sarah Cuevas. Jesse would appreciate prayer for full-time employment following the completion of his university education.

JR. HIGH SUMMER STAFF: Emily Alkire & Matai Lealaimatafao

Emily Alkire is excited to serve as a Junior High Summer Staffer! She grew up in Clovis and has been going to FPC since her birth. Being part of the church from an early age has contributed so much to the person she is today. Emily is really looking forward to serving in a church that feels like home. She is currently a sophomore at Wheaton College in Illinois, majoring in Business/Economics and English. At Wheaton, she serves as a discipleship study group leader and an event planner on student government. She calls herself a coffee-obsessed book nerd who loves her dogs a little too much. Emily is looking forward to building relationships with the Jr. High students while helping them progress in their faith. Emily would appreciate prayers for her heart to grow closer to God as she grows closer to students in the Jr. High youth group and for sustained energy. She can’t wait to see what God holds for her this summer!

Matai Lealaimatafao is seventeen years old and recently graduated from Sanger High School. He was born in Fresno, raised in Sanger, and currently lives in Clovis. Matai is a gifted track athlete as he has been named a two time 110 meter hurdle league champion, 300 hurdle league champion, a 110 meter hurdle section champion, 300 meter hurdle area champion, and a two-time Masters Championship Qualifier. Matai loves to run because it makes him feel free and he enjoys being with his peers. Matai will attend Fresno Pacific University this fall with a Track scholarship. Matai would love to double major in theology and sports medicine. He would enjoy being a youth pastor like his father because he believes youth are key in societies and the world's future success. Matai loves his Samoan culture. The Samoan way is “mua mua le atua” meaning family, love, and respect. He loves putting his family first no matter the situation; and will do anything for them. He was taught these ways at a young age; and would love to pass them on to the younger generations and his children.

HIGH SCHOOL SUMMER STAFF: Kaylene Norvell & Zach Oaks

Kaylene Norvell grew up in Fresno and started attending FPC when she was in the 4th grade with her parents and two older brothers. She just finished at Clovis Community College and will be attending Fresno State this fall as a junior, majoring in Liberal Studies with a concentration of Child and Family Sciences. Since Kaylene was in Jr. High, she has served at this church as an elementary Sunday school teacher, VBS leader/game coordinator, summer intern in the Dominican Republic and a high school advisor for the past 3 years. Honestly, in her spare time she loves binge watching Netflix and laying with her 3 cats or hanging out with friends and family. This summer Kaylene is most looking forward to building relationships with the high school students and helping them grow in their faith, and to grow in her faith as well. Kaylene would love prayer for handling the responsibilities as a Summer Staffer and balancing her other part-time job at Dress Barn. She is recently engaged to Douglas Joseph Durbin, which involves lots of planning! She loves this church and the support, love, and encouragement many of you have poured into her. She's forward to a life changing summer filled with the love of Christ and joy of serving! 

 Zach Oaks is excited to be working with high-schoolers this summer! He was born and raised here in Fresno. He loves to travel and play music, and life is even better when he  gets to do them together. Zach just returned from attending the Torchbearers bible school in Erseke, Albania and will be returning there in September to serve as the Resident Advisor for new students. He is looking forward to connecting to the youth this summer and watching them grow in faith and understanding of who our glorious God is more and more. Zach would appreciate prayers for his family's financial situation, for him to be responsive to the Holy Spirit’s work this summer and beyond, and for God to continue  preparing his heart for returning to Albania this fall.

 
Anonymous
by Paul Marr  
 
   God has caused an amazing partnership between the small, impoverished community of Raisin City and its little church to grow into a big blessing as the community leaders and school principal (1 elementary school, about 250 kids 1st – 8th) asked the church to run their end of year carnival, the first one in recent memory!
 

    This partnership is plainly the work of The Spirit, which began and continues by a committed focus on prayer and communion with the Father through His magnificent gift and provision of Jesus’ sacrifice and blood at the Cross. We have listened first for HIS agenda before our own.

  Herme and his wife from Iglesia Fuerza de Calvario The local church, Fuerza de Calvario was led to step out of their very modest mobile-home church (no heat, two window AC units) to care for their town park. Their visible service and public worship caught the eye of community families and leaders, and the school principal, who subsequently invited them to run an annual school carnival for the community! Three churches blessed 120+ children and many parents with games, food and new relationships on Friday evening May 26th on the grounds of the Elementary school.

   The unified body of Christ was clearly on display across language, economic and cultural barriers as Fuerza Calvario ran the games, provided by Riverpark Bible Church, while seven of us from FPC grilled and served hotdogs and drinks.  

   Fernando Napoles, the local Hispanic missionary really made the day of five fortunate children who won drawings for donated bicycles: all smiles!

   The school principal (pictured below in white shirt) and some board members, after seeing the efforts and partnership at the carnival have thrown open wide the doors to the community, with very public thanks and invitation to undertake further activities at the school on behalf of the community. And planning is now underway in a joint effort between school, community and church to run a week long camp at the school! This means a great deal to the community, and is a real opportunity for development and sharing the Gospel.

 

   If The Lord is tugging on your heart to draw near to Him and to His work amongst the impoverished in our own valley in Raisin City (and others to follow), contact me (Paul Marr). I’m excited to tell you great stories of God’s goodness and grace and work!
 
 
 
 

 

Anonymous

Dear First Pres,

  I've been continuing to stir about Psalm 63 this week. That was text for Sunday's sermon. If you missed the sermon, I encourage you to listen to it on our website. There were some particular points from the text that I thought were important for us to hear. And, if you can't remember what Psalm 63 says, I encourage you to read it again today.

   David starts with these words, "O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you." What we learn from the Psalm is that a heart of worship is one that is earnestly, passionately, and intensely seeking after God ... not just God's benefits, but God Himself. Having that kind of heart in our congregation starts with putting our faith in Christ and grows by living daily submitted in a relationship with Him. It was David's relational experience with God that gave him such a deep desire for God. So, how are you doing in your daily submitted relationship with Christ? Our relationship with Him is so important because it is in the context of that relationship that we come to know (really know) what David says in verse 3, that God's love is better than life. Remember, when the Scripture calls us to earnestly seek the Lord, that it is only in response to the way that God has earnestly, passionately, and intensely moved toward us in Christ. What good news! What could be better than the covenant faithfulness of God? We experience that covenant faithfulness, His love, in a daily submitted relationship with Him.
 
   As I was praying this morning, I kept coming back to this prayer for you and me ... for First Presbyterian Church Fresno: may the Lord give us hearts that earnestly, passionately, and intensely seek after Him. But, may those hearts come (the only way they really can come) because of a growing experience and knowledge of God's incredible grace.
 
What have you been seeking today?

Blessings,

Jeremy

Jeremy Vaccaro
Senior Pastor

by: Ivan Paz

     When we think of Christian urban leaders, the first image that comes to mind for most of us is the image of a well-trained, program director or CEO of a faith based non-profit who is leading groups of people towards changing their inner-city neighborhood. But that is not the case in most of our neighborhoods in Fresno.

    For the past decade or so, Beth and I have been deeply invested in the relational fabric of downtown Fresno, engaging development work with ministry and civic leaders, contributing to projects that aim at creating change and hope. But the more intentional that Beth and I made ourselves with our neighbors, the more we began to discover a different image of a Christian urban leader: one that looked more like a Spanish speaking mother between 20 and 50 years of age, whose husband works in the fields or construction, who helps navigate traffic before and after school hours, who pushes a stroller to council meetings to advocate for her neighborhood, and who never misses a Sunday Mass service. This is the real image of a Christian urban leader in our downtown neighborhoods. Unfortunately, not many see this, and it’s okay because these women are not seeking praise or glory. They are only doing what they believe is the right thing to do.

​Jefferson Neighborhood Leaders: Alejandra, Raquel, Adriana, Andrea

   Beth and I have offered our property as a meeting place for our neighbors. There they meet regularly to brainstorm ways they can change the neighborhood. Having finished a few projects—getting their council member to fix a couple of alleys and compelling a slumlord to rehab a house that was being squatted in—Raquel, one of the group’s leaders, decided it was time to honor the women on Mother’s Day with a fiesta where all the families can come and celebrate the hard working women in the neighborhood. As they began to plan, an Acts 6 (Conflict over neglected widows) moment occurred: the group was divided over the dates—the Mexican mother’s day and the U.S. version of mother’s day—not to mention that some women did not have their husbands either because of deportations, marital conflict, and other circumstances. On top of that, having the money was a challenge. But we were reminded that we should not plan around money but around God because God is bigger than money and God validates the mothers in our area. The result: the women organized two celebrations—one on the Mexican day for women only and one on the U.S. day for families.

     The celebrations were amazing. There was lots of food, mariachis, dancing, but most of all … the celebration, smiles, and laughter reminded us that we owe a lot to the mothers (biological or covenantal)—esp. those doing all of the work behind the scenes in our neighborhoods and our churches. They do so much without a demand to be seen. But God sees them, and we walk with God, we can begin to see them as well.

 

Anonymous
   

 Maybe you saw the pictures on Facebook from the Dress-A-Girl sewing day? Here's the rest of the story from Pam Sells and Shelley Haught. 
 
Pam Sells
 
   Many years ago women would gather together to quilt, knit, bake, or engage in other household duties in small community groups. The beauty of these times was not only accomplishing an important task but also to experience of sweet fellowship which occurred around the table or parlor.
     

On May 6 a group of 15-20 women experienced the same sweet fellowship as they sewed, ironed, or cut patterns for the "Dress-a-Girl" organization. Dress a Girl Around the World is a Campaign under Hope 4 Women International bringing dignity to women around the world. Organized in 2006, the dream is to bring at least one new dress to each girl in poverty areas around the world, helping them to see that they are worthy, respected and loved by God.  
 
     During this Saturday morning, First Pres women joined with several women from other churches to work together on creating dresses.  Talking (of course!), getting to know new women, working together and sharing stories about how we learned to sew, were highlights of the morning.  We had such fun creating dresses that were colorful and decorated with trim, buttons, and ruffles, knowing that little girls from 3 months to 12 years would be excited to receive these "works of love". 
 
   Laboring together in the same place at the same time on the same project has lots of rewards, the least of which was the sweet fellowship with other women!  What a wonderful blessing the day turned out to be!!
 
Shelley Haught
 
     The Dress-a-Girl morning at FPC went so smoothly with the support of the team of volunteers from Dress a Girl that came alongside to help us get dresses to little girls that our short term mission teams will be visiting this summer. There was a wonderful buzz in the room as we cut, kitted, ironed, sewed, bagged completed dresses together & prayed for the girls.

Mexico
This is the second year FPC men worked in Mexico through Amor Ministries to build a house. Each of the nine men on the team took will take three dresses to give to the church for their girls. What a blessing to bring 27 dresses of various sizes for the girls!
 
Albania
   We have a 20+ year relationship with a churches in the southern part of Albania where communism has diminished & faith in Christ grows. 

We support several missionaries in Ablania, one of whom is FPC member Linda Osborne who spends most of her year serving in the Bible School and alongside the church of Erseka. FPC's short term mission team will take 40 dresses, thanks to Dress-a-Girl. We will be sending along t-shirts to go with the dresses. The dresses will be going to Korce where our mission partners have a safe house for girls at risk for trafficking and other abuse. FPC sewers made larger dresses for these girls. 
Anonymous

Pages