What a rollercoaster the past two months have been. Two week after our last post Ray's brother, Ryan, went home to be with the Lord. Two months later and I still can't believe those words as I type them. To say that this loss has been devastating would be an understatement. Ryan was truly one of a kind and the world was a better place with him in it. We continue to appreciate all the love, support and prayers that our family has received during this time.
As Ray so eloquently said at Ryan's funeral, "This is fuel for the fire." Since Ryan's passing, the 3Sixty house has been opened which is Phase 2 of the Faith Based Rehab program. We've cleaned, painted and renovated this home which can house two dozen men at full capacity! We are also working diligently to purchase a home which will be named "RYAN'S HOUSE" to carry on Ryan's legacy of helping others.
Mobile Soup Kitchen
We are very excited to be partnering with Trinity Rescue's Homeless Outreach to provide clothes and food to the homeless through the mobile soup kitchen! They have been faithfully serving the homeless by doing bi-weekly runs during which they bring food and clothes directly to people on the street. They have never missed a run!! Rain, snow, holidays, etc! If you'd like to volunteer with the mobile soup kitchen, email us at RHOWRehab@gmail.com!
Pray: The devil has been hitting us left and right this year. We are standing firm and not wavering. But this has been a very tough season for us. Please continue to keep the Ramos family and the Recovery House of Worship in your prayers.
RHOW Men's Breakfast
Ray was given the opportunity to share his testimony at the 1st Annual RHOW Men's Breakfast. He shared about how he was going down a dark road and God grabbed ahold of his life.
Missions Trip to Portales, New Mexico
What an incredible experience!! Ray spent a week in Portales, New Mexico serving at a Youth Conference. He taught the youth about evangelism and boldly sharing their faith. Many recommitted their lives to Christ. He also got the chance to serve alongside his father on their first missions trip together. It was a powerful experience.
Session 1: Gospel Theology
Ray and I began our Redeemer City to City Apprentice class where we studied Gospel Theology. Interesting discussion about what exactly the gospel is. We know that the gospel changes everything-- but practically speaking, what changes? What difference does the gospel make in your life? What is its relevance in your workplace?
David Kim said "Work should be an expression of your identity, not the source of it." He talked about how God designed work to be a good thing. So many of us compartmentalize our lives and leave the gospel out of our workplace. Work should be an expression of who you are, not the source of your identity.
Pastor Ray, Ray Jr and I have been working tirelessly to put together a powerful weekend in December! We have a line-up of dynamic speakers that will be talking about what it means to be a man of God. Spread the word to ALL of the men in your life! The world needs more men who say YES to God and NO to self. Separate yourself from the distractions of life and hear what God would say to you this weekend. For more info: Click Here.
Recovery House of Worship Bronx
Our Bronx church plant if flourishing!! In September we relaunched our Women's ministry (which was on a summer hiatus) and LAUNCHED OUR MEN'S MINISTRY!! Both the men and the women meet at 3:30pm on Sundays (before our 5pm service). God has raised up local volunteers for our Worship, Follow-up, Usher's, Children's, Hospitality, and Small group ministries!! These volunteers are Bronx residents who call RHOW Bronx their home! This is such a win for us as a church plant. Keep praying for RHOW Bronx. Beautiful things are happening there.
Also, we are going FACEBOOK LIVE every Sunday at 5pm!
Please "like" our RHOW Bronx Facebook page for access!
On a More Personal Note...
On September 27th Ray and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary! Ray and I are completely overwhelmed by all of the love and well wishes that we received! We are so grateful for our support system and family! Although we have both been very busy didn't have much time to "celebrate" I'm grateful to be in a relationship where we celebrate our love everyday.
That night, I put on my veil, we danced to our wedding song and looked through our wedding albums. It's the little things like that that mean so much to me. I love you, Raymond. I am honored to call you my husband. Here's to many, many more adventures together!
"Mrs. Ramos! Mrs. Ramos!"
September means back-to-school for this 5th grade teacher! One year ago I came back from my honeymoon and two days later interviewed for a teaching position at this school. Never in a million years did I think I would be teaching, especially not at this school, but I went on the interview just for the interview experience. As soon as I walked in I sensed that this is where God wants me. I said yes not knowing why I was there. Over the past year it has been made more and more clear that this is where I'm supposed to be right now. This season of my life has stretched me, pushed me to my limits, and molded me a little more into the woman God has called me to be.
Graduating from college with a Master's degree in Microbiology, I had hoped that God would lead me to a nice, comfortable, high paying job, where I could put my expensive degree to use...God had other plans. People ask me all the time what I am doing teaching at this school instead of looking for a job in my field. The only answer that I have is God didn't lead me there. He led me here.
Last month I began my 2nd year teaching at this school. As someone who suffers from anxiety, I am a perfectionist and someone who needs to be in control. This year I am praying that I become more reliant on Christ and less on my abilities. I am learning the beauty of resting, saying "no", and putting up boundaries to prevent myself from burning out. Please keep these things in prayer this year.
For the past year or so Ray and I have both discerned God's call for Ray to do full time ministry. Ray spent the first half of this year working as a mental health aid at a detox in Manhattan, in addition to ministry. In an attempt to juggle both full time work and full time ministry, we realized that this was not God's will for us. So as of June, we have answered the call and Ray left his job to pursue the call of God on his life. As a newlywed, recent college grad, and someone just starting out in the real world, it's a scary thought to give up half of our income. It also doesn't help that most of our friends are moving into nice, new apartments and getting promotions at their jobs. There are days when we look at our peers around us and ask "what are we doing?"
The day after we got married, Ray and I moved into the church at RHOW Brooklyn to work closely with the men in the Discipleship Home. Our time here has been a humbling experience, but has allowed us the unique opportunity to work with the men up close. Here at the Discipleship Home we are truly a family. We are able to celebrate birthdays and clean time together, fellowship together, whether that's through a bible study or a late night game of spades, have "family dinners" where we can just hang out and enjoy each others company. The men who stay in the Discipleship Home can tell you, you really get adopted into the family here. Even when your time here is done, you are still a part of our network and our family. I think that's what makes this program so unique. You are not a name on a list, or a body filling bed, you are a person-- and that's what Jesus cared most about--PEOPLE. We take our job very seriously here, because Jesus entrusted us to care for his people and that's something we do to the best of our ability.
As much as it hurts to not have our own place, and to have a limited income coming in, those feelings are nothing compared to the look on a child's face when they get their daddy back after years of addiction.
-The men. Some pretty incredible things are happening. Pray that God would grab ahold of their hearts and they would never look back.
-A building. Our time here at RHOW Brooklyn is temporary. We are looking to move to another location.
-Finances. Pray that we would be good stewards of what God has given us. Pray that people would partner with us in ministry to impact the lives of these men and to support us while we do the same.
-Empire Clean-Up. The garbage removal/moving company that we've recently started to bring in income in a less-hands-on type of way. Reach out if you or someone you know is in need of our services.
What a powerful time at the GLOBAL LEADERSHIP SUMMIT!
Some of the highlights:
-The thing God cares most about is people. (Bill Hybels)
-Pastor the flock that God has already given you. Whether that's in your job, your family or your church. Lead where you are. (Bill Hybels)
-How can you change where you spend your energy in order to change your legacy? (Bill Hybels)
-Don't allow fear of losing what you have keep you from losing what God has for you. (Jossy Chacko) WOW
-Don't take your talents and gifts to heaven with you. Heaven doesn't need it. Pour out everything God gave you here on earth. (Jossy Chacko)
-There will always be more good ideas than capacity to execute them. Narrow your focus. Use the framework 'from X to Y by when?' to make your goal a measurable target. (Chris McChesney)
-Every day intentionally add value to people. (John C. Maxwell)
-You will never stumble into greatness. It is intentional. People have uphill hopes and downhill habits. (John C. Maxwell)
-Selfishness and significance are incompatible. (John C. Maxwell)
-You are no greater than the people around you. Jesus spent more time with the 12 than the 5,000. (TD Jakes)
-(Talking about juggling multiple projects) You will always miss something. But make sure you don't miss the same thing twice or that area will deplete. (TD Jakes)
-It's okay to get tired. Jesus got tired. Don't stay tired. (TD Jakes)
-Don't miss todays daily break holding on to yesterdays bread. The worms are a blessing, not a sign of failure. (TD Jakes)
-The American Dream is to have it all but the Kingdom Dream is to lose it all. (Wilfredo DeJesus)
-When Jesus called us the salt and the light it wasn't a compliment. It was a responsibility. (Wilfredo DeJesus)
For most of July, Ray and I were blessed to be able to spend some time on the West Coast focusing on our #1 ministry--our marriage! We had such a good time relaxing, connecting with each other and having some down time to dream and talk about what we hope to accomplish in the coming months. We are so grateful for our West Coast family for hosting us during our time out there.
Almost 10 years ago my mom sent me to a Victory Outreach G.A.N.G Retreat where I heard the gospel for the first time and the seed was planted. God was calling me to trust him but I wasn't ready. During this trip, I had the opportunity to attend the VO G.A.N.G (Gods Anointed Now Generation) Convention I was overwhelmed with gratitude when I looked back on the past decade and how faithful God has been. God has given me a vision, a passion, a burden, a calling for my city, for addicts and for this generation. I am so excited to see what the next decade holds. Here I am, Lord, send me!
During our time out there we also got to attend the Recovery House of Worship Southern California Church and weekly bible study. Keep this church in your prayers as they continue to grow. Pray that God would send committed leaders who are sold out for the Lord.
This song was on repeat during our trip. One of the highlights of the trip for me was waking up early in the mornings and spending time with the Lord on the swing on the balcony of the home we were staying in. This song ministered to me. The Lord is faithful and can be trusted to lead me.
When Ray and I first got married we were so excited to get involved in ministry together as husband and wife! We had made a 6 month commitment to serve in whatever way we could as part of the launch team for our RHOW Bronx church. On January 3rd, RHOW Bronx had their first weekly service and since then we have consistently seen souls being saved. Over a dozen people are currently in our Membership Class which ends with membership and baptism (picture below). Bronx residents are getting involved in ministry. God is on the move in the Bronx. Getting to watch a church grow from conception has been such a joy and this past 6 months have really solidified God's calling on Ray and I's lives. We want to continue to be a part of Church Planting and reaching addicts for Christ. With that being said, we've signed up for another 6 month commitment in the Bronx!
City to City Apprenticeship Program
I am SUPER excited to announce that Ray and I have been accepted into an apprenticeship program for young leaders with a heart for church planting! This program offers a great opportunity to grow as leaders as well as network with other Pastors and young leaders with a heart to reach this city for Christ!
"Through the Apprentice Program, we come alongside pastors to help them develop young men and women within their congregations who show leadership potential... Some of the topics addressed include gospel theology & renewal, identifying calling, and cultural engagement. Other program elements include church site visits, a ministry assignment within the home church, and pastoral coaching sessions." -- Redeemer City to City
Men's Home Update
June was a great month for the Men's home! We saw many men involved in ministry. With the nicer weather coming we also have had many opportunities to fellowship (see pictures below). We had a night out at Brooklyn Bridge Park, saw fireworks in Coney Island and went to MVMNT's Night of Worship. Opportunities like this are such a huge part of what makes this program successful. Being a part of the men's home here, you are not just a name on a list, you become part of our family. Through fellowship, we are able to do life together and build friendships and a network that will last far beyond their time living in the home.
Please pray for...
- Ray and I will be going to California July 13th-August 4th. While there we will be attending the G.A.N.G Conference, helping RHOW SoCal, and scoping out a ministry opportunity. Please pray that this time is fruitful and also recharging.
- RHOW Bronx's 4th of July picnic. Pray that this fellowship opportunity is a success and that RHOW Bronx sees grown in numbers, depth and most importantly souls saved.
Have a Prayer Request?
Submit Prayer Requests here and Ray and I will pray for you.