By Yadira Betances
---- — ANDOVER — Members of New England Bible Church help serve dinner at a soup kitchen in Lawrence, volunteer at a pregnancy center in Haverhill and Lawrence, assist the needy, teach English as a second language classes, and have financially supported 15 missionaries for years.
Three years ago, the church at 60 Chandler Road expanded its missionary work by going global, to Motocho, Guatemala, a town of 3,000 residents in the Central American country.
Pastor Tyler Thompson said they are working through AMG International, an acronym for Advancing the Ministries for the Gospel based in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Today, a group of eight men ranging in ages from 26 to 72, will travel to Matochos to help natives repair a wall on the school damaged by a recent earthquake. Thompson will also help train the pastor of the church in Matochos and its lay leader. The team is made up of members who work as financial adviser, physician assistant, printer, vice president of marketing and salesman.
“One phrase describes our relationship,” Thompson said. “They are spiritually rich, but financially poor and American churches, including Andover, are financially rich and sometimes spiritually poor.”
Thompson said partnering with the church in Matochos benefits both congregations.
“We can help them with our resources and they can teach us a tremendous amount about faith,” he said.
One example is the line in the Lord’s Prayer ‘Give us today our daily bread.’
“As Americans readily do we pray that and mean it because we have food available. When people in Third World countries pray that, they really mean it. When they see the supernatural answers to their prayers it makes their faith extremely real, richer and stronger,” Thompson said.
He said New England Bible has been volunteering at Bread and Roses soup kitchen, the Pregnancy Center and helping out the needy through the church’s People in Need fund and teaching ESL classes three days a week.
In addition to supporting 15 missionaries financially every New England Bible Church had short-term mission trips annually. Three years ago, Thompson said they wanted to set roots in one church and organization. That’s when he discovered AMG which has been doing missionary work in Guatemala for close to 40 years.
The group has 28 schools in Guatemala serving close to 8,000 children and offering classes to parents on life skills. AMG has two vocational projects offering training in carpentry, tailoring and baking. The group also operates medical and dental clinics, a rural hospital, and a nutrition center nursing malnourished children back to health.
This is the second trip members of New England Bible church made to Guatemala. Last year, a group of seven teenagers and six adults did repair work at the school for 225 students.
When they returned from that trip, Thompson suggested members help pay the tuition for students, which costs $28. So far, a dozen members are doing that. At Christmas time, the church raised $8,000 for the Bundles of Love project. The money will be sent to Guatemala where missionaries will buy uniforms, books, Bibles and food for the families.
“Not only were we able to provide bundles for about 400 children, but all the money will be spent in Guatemala to boost their economy,” Thompson said.
“We are the hands and feet of Christ, who was able to serve all those around him, but also gave the commandment to go carry the gospel all over the world,” Thompson said. “That’s what we’re responding to; doing as much as we can to spread the love and gospel of Christ.”
Christ Church, 25 Central St., Andover: Convivium Musicum, a Boston-based Renaissance Choir of 20 singers, performs a concert of early music and works by Johannes Brahms, Jan. 20 at 4 p.m. Michael Barrett is conductor. The James Thompson Brass Quintet performs a brass and organ concert Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. Barbara Bruns plays the C.B. Fisk organ. Suggested donation is $15 for adults; $10 children and senior citizens.
Congregation Beth Israel, 501 S. Main St., Andover: Students help lead Kabbalat Shabbat services Jan. 25 with blessings, songs, and food. Dinner begins at 6 p.m., followed by services.
De Colores Christian Books, 34 N. Broadway, Salem: The Rev. Andrew M. Beauregard speaks on the Apocalypse of John Jan. 19 at 10:15 a.m. He will discuss the Catholic Biblical interpretation and the book of Revelation and what revelation really reveals. Participants are asked to bring their bible and notebooks.
Faith Lutheran, N. Main St., Andover: Members of the retiree group, “Prime Timers” meet Thursday at 10:30 a.m. for a slide show on China. Participants are asked to bring a grab bag. The youth group watches “The Hunger Games,” follow by a discussion on the Christian and social themes reflected in the popular movie and book.
First Church Congregational, 26 Pleasant St., Methuen: People interested in becoming a member can attend an informal meeting tomorrow after the 10 a.m. service. New members will be received on Jan. 20.
Merrimack College, 319 Turnpike St., North Andover: Members of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim community come together in Prayer, Feb. 6, 7-8:30 p.m. in Cascia Hall.
North Parish, 190 Academy Road, North Andover: Pulitzer Prize finalist Martin Espada speaks tomorrow at the 9 and 11 a.m. services. Espada will read poems and speak about immigration drawing on his experience representing Latin American immigrants. Espada will read some of his poetry today at 3 p.m. The Rev. Lee Bluemel and the Membership Committee lead “Exploring Unitarian Universalism,” Sundays, Jan. 27, Feb. 3 and Feb. 10, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Reservations can be by sending an email to MembershipCoordinator@northparish.org.
Sacred Hearts, Bradford: The parish hosts a holy hour of life Jan. 20 at 3 p.m. with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and benediction.
St. Basil Salvatorian Center, East St., Methuen: The Rev. Ralph DiOrio leads an evening of prayer and healing, Thursday, 6 to 9 p.m. For advance seating, call 978-683-2959.
St. Joseph of St. Mary and Joseph Parish, 40 Main St., Salem: The Rev. John Michalowski leads a workshop on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius January through June. Participants will pray 45 to 60 minutes a day over the assigned scripture passages or meditations from Ignatius’ exercises, then write their experience in a journal. The program, “Exploring the Catholic Faith” where participants reflect on the Sunday gospel and discuss it, continues Sundays, 7-8:30 p.m. through Easter.
St. Jude, 435 Mammoth Road, Londonderry: The book club discusses “Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper” by Dr. Brant Pitre Wednesday at 7 p.m.
St. Michael, 196 Main St., North Andover: The Tuesday Bible study group explores the book of Revelation at 7:30 p.m. The parish celebrates Father Paul Keyes’ 50th anniversary as a priest, Feb. 3 at noon. Reception follows. “Why Catholic?” a faith sharing group begins Feb. 10 and meets for six-week to explore the key tenets of the apostle’s creed with emphasis on the trinity, the incarnation and the paschal mystery.
St. Monica, 212 Lawrence St., Methuen: Adult formation classes based on the Catholicism series by the Rev. Robert Barron starts in January on the fourth Monday of every month at 7 p.m. Cost is $30 for the workbooks. To register, call Jim Lundt at 978-683-1193 ext. 101 and leave your name and number. The Rev. Albert MacPherson celebrates Mass and healing session, Monday at 7 p.m.
St. Patrick, 118 S. Broadway, Lawrence: Mass in honor of Our Lady of Altagracia, patroness of the Dominican Republic, is Jan. 20 at 12:30 p.m. “Life and Faith” adult faith formation series exploring part II of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church will be held Feb. 21, March 14 and April 11, from 7-8:30, through April.
St. Patrick, 12 Main St., Plaistow: Centennial Mass for emergency medical technicians and members of the police and fire departments is celebrated tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. Reception follows hosted by the teen ministry.
St. Paul Episcopal, 390 Main St., North Andover: The women’s book group discusses “The 19th Wife” by David Ebershoff, Jan. 17.
South Church, 41 Central St., Andover: Rabbi Robert Goldstein, spiritual leader of Temple Emanuel preaches tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. as part of the Temple Emanuel and South Church Pulpit Exchange. The Temple Emanuel Junior Choir participates. Adult education course on spiritual innovation, starts Monday, 7-9 p.m. The course explores innovation, neuroscience and the gospel message.
Temple Emanuel, 7 Haggetts Pond Road, Andover: Rabbi Miriam Philips leads the Jewish book group, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. Cantor Idan Irelander leads a bar and bat mitzvah class for adults beginning Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. Participants will learn to read Hebrew, the history of music and chant the Torah trope or the musical phrase cantillation applied to sacred text during public readings.
Temple Emanu-El, 514 Main St., Haverhill: The book club discusses “Cain” by Jose Saramago, tomorrow from 10 a.m. to noon. A musical service honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. Leading the service will be Rabbi Ira Korinow, the Rev. Gregory Thomas, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, and Mindy Harris, cantor at the temple. Music will be provided by Joe Devoe, music director at the church, the Calvary Baptist Sanctuary Choir, and the adult choir from the temple. Members of the Greater Haverhill Clergy Association will also participate. The temple hosts a service Feb. 3 at 1 p.m., honoring the four American chaplains who in 1943 gave their life preservers when their ship, the U.S.S. Dorchester was struck. Reception follows at the Haverhill American Legion Post 4, Main Street. Haverhill native and best-selling author Larry Tye speaks on his latest book, “Superman: Who Knew he was Jewish” Feb. 3 at 9:30 a.m.
Trinitarian Congregational, 72 Elm St., North Andover: The Rev. Richard Knight leads a discussion on Garry Morgan’s “Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day,” Wednesdays at 7 p.m. The book costs $12.
Universalist Unitarian, 15 Kenoza Ave., Haverhill: The church hosts its 27th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Breakfast, Jan. 20 at 8 a.m. with members of Calvary Baptist Church.
West Congregational, 767 Broadway, Haverhill: Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute is guest speaker at the Sanctity of Life prayer breakfast Wednesday from 8 to 10 a.m. Breakfast is free. For reservations, call the Pregnancy Care Center of Haverhill at 978-373-5718 or email email@example.com.
West Parish, 129 Reservation Road, Andover: Jennifer Zhang of the Winchester School of Chinese Culture presents a slide show of traditional Chinese culture and the current cultural renaissance, tomorrow after the 10 a.m. service.