The purpose of this page is to report on what God has been doing through The Better Place ministry. “…they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them…” – Acts 14:26-27
For a look at news that is still waiting to be made, take a look at the Coming Events page. And for another perspective on both news of what has happened as well as coming events, you may want to check the Current Prayer Requests page.
>>Click Here To read past TBP News articles
REPORTS: (Many thanks to all who prayed for these events and ministries!)
The sanctuary was pretty full at Fluvanna Community Church yesterday afternoon for our “Babies’ Lives Matter” rally; led by Mel McGinnis. It stated at 4:00 and concluded at about 6:15. There were several informative presentations; both live and by video. And then we prayed.
We prayed with a sort of “concert of prayer” format, facilitated by our TBP Director, in groups of just two or three people all over the sanctuary while the pastors were all up front praying in groups of threes. First we prayed prayers of repentance with Pastor Tom Calzone then taking the microphone to lead a spirit-filled concluding prayer. Then we prayed prayers taking spiritual authority and Pastor Ron Lemon prayed the concluding prayer. Next we prayed prayers of intercession for anyone and anything that has anything to do with abortion: Choose Life / Women’s Services ministries, our governor and politicians, the Girl Scouts, YWCA, Planned Parenthood, Teachers, etc. and Pastor Dodi McIntyre led the concluding prayer. (Wow! Can she pray!) Finally we prayed prayers of seeking and committal regarding what God is calling each of us as individuals to do. Pastor Mark Hanson led the concluding prayer. – God really moved in as we prayed and the heavens were shaken and a bunch of golden bowls got filled up.
It was courageous, contagious, wildfire prayer!
REGIONAL SCHOOL OF PRAYER
- SESSION #2
We had a very engaged group of spiritually mature church leaders present for Session #2 of our Regional School of Prayer and this past Saturday. [In the photo here they are engaged in worship; some with eyes closed.]
Thank you to REALiFE Church for hosting and to Jordan & Angela for leading songs of worship. - There was excellent discussion / sharing as we covered "Prayer Basics" for an hour, and then went deep into the topics; "House of Prayer," "Corporate Prayer," "Urgency," and "Praying God's Word." --- The next session of the School of Prayer and will be held on the 1st of June.
ADDICTION RESPONSE MINISTRY LUNCHEON
We praise God for a very encouraging gathering this day, the 13th of March, at Friendly’s restaurant in downtown Jamestown, as thirty-six key leaders from the Church received a report on what God is doing with and through our ADDICTION RESPONSE MINISTRY. – An average of around 200 people are involved as participants/recipients of our ministry in any given month. They meet in support groups at several locations. Others participate in “We Believe” meetings, and others in “Clean, Sober and Saved” meetings for recovering addicts and in “C, S & S” family meetings.
Bishop Leecroft Clarke, chairperson of the ARM Board, led much of the meeting and facilitated as others shared information. We heard from other Board members, from former addicts who are now living free and saved and helping to lead a group, and we heard from our county sheriff, Jim Quattrone.
The group agreed that we will endeavor to have a county-wide Addiction Response Sunday one Sunday each year. We will begin in 2019 with the 19th of May being that Sunday. On the 19th of May pastors at every church in the county will share a message about what God is doing to combat destructive addictions in our county and what believers can do to partner with God; especially through the ministries of Addiction Response Ministry.
One thing that the participants at the luncheon today saw was a video about ARM. Anyone may view this video at our ARM web site;
There will be another luncheon report opportunity soon in the north county at the Clarion in Dunkirk; “Stay tuned” for the date and details.
Women of Encouragement – February Gathering
Our Women of Encouragement held their monthly gathering on Saturday the 9th of February. As usual; many churches of the Jamestown region were represented by the women who were present – Over forty this day. The group photo that you see here was taken at the start of their gathering before everyone has arrived.
After fellowship over a hot breakfast, Minister Chloe Smith brought a powerful word of testimony and encouragement. The gathering was then concluded with a time of worship and prayer ministry.
Minister Smith gave shared portions of her story and spoke powerfully into the lives of all present. She used the Biblical story of Esther and also Isaiah 60:1-2 – For such a time as this; God is raising up an army for Himself, using what we have been through for His glory. The glory of the Lord is rising upon us! We should not give up stepping out in faith for what God wants.
The next gathering of our Women of Encouragement will be on the second Saturday of March. Double-check with The Better Place Board member, Nina Bell email@example.com and/or keep an eye on the COMING EVENTS page of TBP web site for details of all future gatherings.
Eighty-Five Men Gathered for the
First MEN OF INTEGRITY Breakfast Meeting of the Year
On Saturday the 26th of January, Eight-Five men, who represented over twenty different congregations of the Church, gathered at the Bemus Point United Methodist Church. The men of our host church provided a hearty breakfast that was enjoyed by all.
Fellowship was great around the tables. The last time many of these men had seen each other was at our October “Challenge Day” that was held at Mission Meadows.
Jamie Sposato welcomed the men and shared some Bible based devotional thoughts at the beginning of the meal. As the meal-time drew to a close, Roy Miller orchestrated announcements. Much of what was announced will soon be found on The Better Place annual calendar and on the COMING EVENTS page of this site.
As the men moved from the dining hall into the sanctuary, they were greeted with music that was being produced by our Men of Integrity Band. After an energy packed time of worship [“real men sing loud”], our speaker for the morning was introduced. – George Lilja, former NFL lineman, brought a very engaging message that quickened the hearts of the men to be all God has called them to be. Yes! We can make a very positive difference for the Kingdom of God in our everyday lives.
Mark Summers invited the men to give to the ministry of Men of Integrity and they responded with an offer of well over $500. This will be used to help undergird our fall event. – Tom Calzone led the men in a closing prayer of commitment.
The next Chautauqua Lake Region Men of Integrity breakfast is scheduled for Saturday morning the 30th of March. It will be hosted by the Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jamestown, NY and our speakers will be members of the Jamestown Jackals basketball team and their owner, Cayla Crosby.
NEW MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Better Place has welcomed Kevin Costner as a new member to our Board of Directors.
Kevin attended his first Board meeting on the 8th of September this year.
He is no stranger to the ministries of The Better Place. He served on our Uganda Team in 2015 when the team ministered in Pallisa District of eastern Uganda.
Kevin is currently the pastor of the Clymer and North Clymer United Methodist Churches. He has also served churches in Springville, NY and in Jamestown, NY.
Kevin is married to Heather and they have two school-age boys, Joshua and Caleb.
Welcome aboard Kevin!
The Better Place School of Prayer DVD series
“3iNetworking of Erie, PA has recently produce a video trailer to help promote The Better Place School of Prayer DVD series. Here it is: https://youtu.be/f_1Uq315wJ0 “
WINNING A NATION FOR CHRIST, ONE STUDENT AT A TIME
One of the ministries of The Better Place is training/teaching pastors and Church leaders in Uganda, East Africa. We do this by sending small teams of pastors from the U.S.A. to instruct at conferences in Uganda every year. While in Uganda; we have been made aware of many needs where the Church is trying to make a positive difference in that poverty stricken nation. The majority of the children in Uganda are not able to attend secondary school because of the simple fact; they do not have money.
The Church is doing its best to address this need by building and staffing schools. The Muslims are doing the same with millions of shillings flooding into Uganda from Saudi Arabia. There is a competition for the hearts and minds of Uganda’s young for which the Muslims have money and Christians do not. We want to do what we can to help Christian Schools.
The Better Place has provided for the building of a small secondary school in Nabweru. This school is in need a LOT of help. More money is needed for building amenities [latrines, water, electric, a library…] and more classes are needed and dormitories are needed and a kitchen & cafeteria are needed and more land must be purchased for all of this. Also, teachers are only paid $60 per term. These teachers are college graduates! There are three terms each year. A term lasts for eleven weeks. Do the math; the teachers receive less than a dollar a day.
The Better Place is seeking one-time donations to help with the many building and property needs. And also – this is very important – we are seeking pledges for regular giving that may be directed to teacher compensation; at least $1,000 per year for each teacher. Right now, if only 20 people pledged and gave $1,000 per year, that would cover it.
For a brochure with more information and a pledge form; make your request to our Director at Roy@thebetterplace.org [provide your mailing address] or write to the Better Place at P.O. Box 532, Jamestown, NY 14702.
During September of 2017 we were able to bring Pastor Eddie Kizito to the States. Watch this video to see what he has to say about the Dayspring School.
We hope to bring Pastor Eddie back to the States in August of 2018. If you would like him to come speak at your church, please use the contact information above to initiate arrangements. Thank you.
CHAUTAUQUA LAKE MEN OF INTEGRITY MEET
Thrice annually, the Chautauqua Lake Region Men of Integrity group, meet for fellowship and to hear good words from a guest speaker. These good words are purposed to uplift and edify with teachings that come from personal testimony.
This past Saturday I attended my first meeting with the Chautauqua Lake Men of Integrity, where it was lovingly welcomed by Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jamestown, New York.
The introductory worship session set the hearts of us all attending to the same tone. The resurrection of the ukulele into our culture, comfortably fit the spirit of the room, despite my own wonder about its presence, before it was thoughtfully played.
The speaker, a Ugandan named Joseph Nsubuga, whose official title is “National Mobiliser,” which incidentally does no justice to the responsibility this man bares in his country, nor does it do justice telling the numbers of folks who benefit from his labors. The number of people Joseph serves swelled some this past weekend, when his own testimony was pointedly shared with the Chautauqua Lake Men of Integrity. His words gave a generalized blueprint for any man in any situation to follow, concerning results for our work in the Lord’s Kingdom, regardless of our backgrounds. A universal message, for any man, in any time.
Afterwards, I briefly chatted with Joseph concerning his closing invitation to the Men of Integrity;
“Come. Come to Uganda. The men there need you to come…”
“What do we have to offer?” I asked."
Without searching, Joseph told me of the need the men face in Uganda, and money was not mentioned. He did however tell of the need for skills training. This showed Joseph’s heart for his people. He did not ask for a handout, but instead asked for the knowledge that embraces an old proverb, without actually saying as much; “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for life.”
“But I’ve no profitable skills to teach I’m aware of,” I said, “what can people, poor by American standards, do to help?”
Joseph looked at me with aging eyes that have beheld much in his world. Eyes that have beheld things that most of us Americans have only heard of, but will never comprehend. Bad things that have loomed around his countrymen, that we are far removed from, even in our worst definition of bad.
Uganda is neighbor to Rwanda, where the infamous genocide has taken place, even in this writer’s lifetime. Just that level of stress living next door, is not calculable by most Americans, or even the repercussions from it. The plight of folks in Uganda does not stop there, and yet Joseph does not ask the Men of Integrity for a handout. So, what did Joseph ask for? What is it that had been revealed to his heart as a great need for his countrymen? It was the very same gift that he imparted to us.
Testimony about life, family and our walk with the Lord, which are all intertwined. Testimony, is the calling of every disciple of Christ. Observe:
Hebrews 10:24-25. “And let us continue to consider how to motivate one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, even more as you see the day of the Lord coming nearer.”
Make it a verb, watch God move.
Women of EnCOURAGEment
2nd Meeting March 11, 2017
The Women of EnCOURAGEment met on Saturday the 11th of March for our 2nd month. We had 22 people with Bonnie Hurley sharing her testimony and presenting a slide show of her mission trips. Bonnie touched the hearts of those who heard her presentation. Her passion and her love and obedience to God were so evident as she shared from her heart.
Mason Primo led us in worship and was such a blessing in helping with sound equipment.
We received a love offering of $164 which was collected for Bonnie's trip to Uganda.
We are thankful to be a part of The Better Place and are thankful to God for Roy Miller and his faithfulness to the Lord and the Vision of His heart for The Better Place. http://thebetterplace.org
The blessing of gathering as women united in the bond of Christ has brought so many of us closer together with purpose and destiny that is beyond the natural. We know that God is doing "exceedingly, abundantly more" through our humble efforts. Thanks to all who pitch in with servant hearts. How great is our God!
NEXT Meeting --April 8th featuring Heidi Bogue as our presenter--don't want to miss it!
MARK YOUR CALENDARS :-)
Life's Best To You!
- Nina Bell
Women of EnCOURAGEment
February 11, 2017--Launch
At our first gathering of Women of EnCOURAGEment (WOE) at Christ Church we had 38 ladies present including 2 women pastors. We enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship at breakfast. After breakfast, we gathered in the sanctuary where I gave a part of my testimony of my salvation and the how WOE began. Only a few knew about
The Better Place so I was able to tell about the Lord's work through The Better Place. It was a precious time as we sang and communed with God during a time of worship.
The women lingered after the meeting—always a good sign. Some of the highlights are as follows:
1. Two young teens came with Emily—Jon & Heidi Bogue's daughter. Heidi told us earlier that they were not saved and it was wonderful to be able to love on them. They are both very artistic and after the meeting some of us chatted with them and they showed us their drawings. Very special time!
2. Many reported to me after the meeting how encouraged they truly were and they were so happy that they came.
3. Two women pastors were among us—one wants to join our Thursday night prayer group that I mentioned when talking about The Better Place.
4. One young woman wanted me to pray with her after the meeting. Three of us gathered with her and prayed.
5. The theme of my message was I Thess. 5:16 & 17 “...in everything give thanks...”
Before we closed with a song and prayer, I introduced Bonnie Hurley as our speaker next month on Saturday the 11th of March. I also talked about the Jackals basketball team and Kayla Crosby, who will be our April speaker. I asked for volunteers to help reach out to these amazing young athletes with support and encouragement.
It was such a blessing to unite—women's hearts were so encouraged. We had such wonderful support from Pastor Bob and Lara Benson & David Jett who went above and beyond not only having the facility available but totally serving with such giving hearts—so grateful for them!
A big “thank you” to the Board members of The Better Place, for helping to empower women to move forward with purpose in what I believe is a critical hour. Also, I am so thankful to the Thursday night prayer team and friends who jumped in with great food and amazing prayer support. Of course, all glory to our awesome God working in us through the power of the Holy Spirit, holding Jesus high for all to see—praise HIM!
- Nina Bell
FIRST PRAYER CONCERT OF 2017
Our Addiction Response Ministry sponsored a Concert of Prayer on Wednesday evening the 1st of February at the Celoron United Methodist Church. The theme for the evening was “Our Hope is Found in Jesus”.
Music was led by Jay Baehr of the Zion Covenant church. The concert was organized by Tom Calzone, of the Jamestown Church of the Nazarene, who is a member of The Better Place Board of Directors and also a member of our Addiction Response Ministry leadership team. Tom launched the gathered pray-ers in the first movement with thoughts on “Those Seeking Hope.” Roy Miller, The Better Place Director, launched the second movement which was on the topic “Expectant Hope;” and Jason Claydon, pastor of the Peace Wesleyan Church in Falconer, launched the third movement on the topic, “Confident Hope.”
Our host pastor was Heather Allport-Cohoon. Pastor Heather led in a welcoming prayer, prior to lighting the candles, and in the benediction.
The crowd was sparse on this snowy evening; but the prayers were mighty as the gathered saints prayed in the unity of the Spirit.
The next prayer events on the calendar for South Chautauqua County are;
- The “Hunger & Thirst” prayer conference that will be held at the Healing Word Ministries Church of God in Jamestown from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday the 4th of February. Contact Bishop Leecroft Clarke at 716/708-2071 for details.
- And “Prayer at the County Gates” starting at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday the 11th of February. Contact Tom Calzone at 716/640-7162 for details.
MEN OF INTEGRITY BREAKFAST A GREAT SUCCESS AS USUAL
On Saturday the 28th of January, about 90 men gathered at the Frewsburg Alliance Church for a hearty breakfast prepared by our host church. This was the first breakfast gathering of the New Year sponsored by our Chautauqua Lake Region Men of Integrity.
Special guests at the breakfast include eleven members of the Jamestown Jackals professional basketball team. The Jackals are part of the “Premier Basketball League.” They are owned by IntegrityFirst Inc.
Our featured speaker of the morning was Jon Bogue. Jon shared the story of his journey from a life of drug addiction – that resulted in strokes, heart problems / open heart surgery, being in a coma on numerous occasions, and a host of other problems – to a sober life empowered by the Spirit of God. Jon is now a full-time staff member with the IMPACT Campus Fellowship which has chapters in schools throughout Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Warren Counties.
Jon’s message for the men who gathered on the 28th shone light on the importance of the unity of the Church acting in love, the power of prayer, and the amazing grace of God who can and will redeem us from anything. All people are redeemable by Christ! Jesus bet his life on it!
The next Men of Integrity breakfast is scheduled for the 11th of March at the Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jamestown, NY. Contact Jamie Sposato at Sposato@windstream.net for more information.
ADDICTION RESPONSE MINISTRY UPDATE
In October of 2015 our Chautauqua Lake Men of Integrity brought Darryl and Traci Strawberry to Jamestown, NY. One purpose for bringing the Strawberrys was so they could teach regarding overcoming drug addiction. Meetings were held following the Strawberrys visit and as a result our Addiction Response Ministry was born in early 2016. One of the goals set by the Addiction Response Ministry was to have Christ-centered recovery groups meeting in churches and in other venues seven days a week.
During a “Report to the Pastors” luncheon meeting held on the 26th of January this year, it was reported that we now have recovery groups meeting five days each week. Some of these groups follow the “We Believe” model and others use Traci Strawberry’s “Clean, Sober, and Saved” DVD based curriculum. More meetings are soon to be added as progress is made to seven days per week.
Also, “Clean, Sober, and Saved” is now being offered in partnership with the Chemical Dependency Unit at UPMC Chautauqua WCA Hospital. Other partnerships have been formed and the North-to-South County Divide is being bridged by this ministry. God is moving, prayers are being answered, lives are being changed and made new, and much more is yet to come.
Our Addiction Response Ministry has its own web site and Facebook page. Please check them out for many more details regarding what God is doing and what is coming up.
MINI SCHOOL OF PRAYER
On the 8th of October our Director, Roy Miller, taught at a morning Mini-School of Prayer that was hosted by the Alliance Church in Frewsburg, NY. There was a great cross-section of people from the churches of Frewsburg, as well as near-by communities, present. The topics that were covered were: “Prayer Basics; a Pep-Talk on Prayer” and also “Jesus Our Model.” There was good participation by all who were present. And now the Church of the region is built up a little more in their faith and in their commitment to be a “House of Prayer for the nations.”
HOPE AND HEALING WEEK FOR CHAUTAUQUA
Last October of 2015 our Men of Integrity brought Tracy and Darryl Strawberry to Jamestown to minister to married couples and also to address the problem of drug addiction. During the months after that we held three meetings of pastors and key community leaders to seek God regarding the Church's role in combating drug addiction. An eight part action plan grew out of that including the formation of a new ministry called "Addiction Response Ministry" that is under the corporate umbrella of THE BETTER PLACE. This ministry, in collaboration with the government of Chautauqua County, brought Tracy Strawberry back to the County this June on the 11th - 13th to teach and minister. - A full day of training was held on Saturday the 11th and an powerful informational meeting was held on Sunday afternoon the 12th of June
HOPE AND HEALING FOR CHAUTAUQUA
A week of meetings for training and for the impartation of information regarding drug addiction got underway on Wednesday evening the 8th of June with a concert of prayer hosted by the Zion Covenant Church in Jamestown. These meetings have been planned and are being sponsored in part by the “Addiction Response Ministry,” a ministry of The Better Place. [see our sister site atwww.addictionresponseministry.com ]
As people from many congregations and denominations of the church filled the sanctuary at the Zion Covenant Church, God showed up in power to bless the occasion. The people gathered to seek God and to pray for the many events that will be held throughout Chautauqua County as part of the strategy of our Addiction Response Ministry to combat drug addiction and, ultimately, to destroy the demonic strongholds of addiction.
The Better Place Board member, Tom Calzone opened the gathering with some words of welcome, instruction and invocation. Julie Anderson and Jay Baehr then led the gathered saints in song.
Former TBP Board member, Rev. Brett Heintzman, pastor of the Jamestown Free Methodist Church, launched the first movement of prayer on the topic of HOPE. The people then got into small circles throughout the sanctuary to pray.
After some time, Julie and Jay began to sing again and soon all the people were joining them in song. Thus the pattern was established for the evening: Topic launch, prayer, and music.
The second movement on the topic of HEALING was introduced by Rev. Dr. Mark Hanson, pastor of the Jamestown Church of the Nazarene. The third and final topic of the evening, HARMONY, was introduced by our TBP Director, Rev. Dr. Roy Miller.
God is moving in Chautauqua County to take what the devil intends for evil and to use it for good as captives are set free from destructive addictions and find freedom and full life in Christ!
MEN OF INTEGRITY HOLD FINAL BREAKFAST OF 2016
There is still more to come from our Men of Integrity this year, but 14 May was their last breakfast gathering for the year. Our speaker was Al Bat from Portville, NY - Al brought an inspiring and motivating message about effectively sharing our faith. He shared many of his personal experiences of faith sharing as he encourage the men to embrace a life-style of loving people enough to introduce them to Jesus. - Keep an eye on the COMING EVENTS page of our web site for information about the fall date night the men are planning.
NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER 2016
The National Day of Prayer has been observed with a noon-hour service outdoors on Tracy Plaza – in front of city hall – in Jamestown, NY every year since 1987. And every year – no matter what the weather forecast – it has not rained nor even been unpleasant [even when the forecast was for 100 % chance of rain]. This year was no different; with a forecast of rain we enjoyed partly cloudy skies and a comfortable temperature.
God’s presence and the unity of the Spirit was very evident as approximately 120 people made their way to the Plaza for this annual observance.
The National theme this year was “Wake up America.” Our specific theme in Jamestown was “Setting the Captive Free.” This theme was a continuation of our Region-wide Maundy Thursday service.
Music was led by Bob Collinge of the Fluvanna Community Church. Mayor Sam Terese brought greetings and an official proclamation. Following that we had three movements of prayer. First Pastor Chloe Smith of the Zion Tabernacle spoke on “The Good Things Happening in Our City & Region” and Pastor Mel McGinnis of the Kiantone Congregational church led in prayer. Then Tom Calzone of the Jamestown Church of the Nazarene spoke on “The Challenges Facing Our City & Region” and Pastor Alfonso Pagan of the Nueva Vida Covenant Church led in prayer. Thirdly, Reverend Roy Miller, Director of The Better Place Ministries, spoke on “Changing the Atmosphere of Our City & Region” and Pastor Tim Smart of Jamestown Praise! Fellowship led in prayer.
Following some announcements and a song, Pastor Jim Reed of the Bethel Baptist Church led our closing prayer.
Many people lingered long after the conclusion of the service to visit with each other in the continuing glow of the Spirit’s presence.
God is on the move in this Region!
MEN OF INTEGRITY – BREAKFAST #2 OF 2016
Our CLMI held their second breakfast of the year at the Park United Methodist Church in Sinclairville, NY on the 12th of March. - Many thanks to the men of Park Church who did a superb job of hosting this event. There were over 85 men and boys present from many area churches.
These events are an effective way to foster unity in the Body of Christ and to encourage men in the practice of their faith.
Speaker, Ron Long, brought a very impactful and welcomed message of encouragement to live as men of integrity and to bear a positive witness for our Lord Jesus.
ONE-IN-CHRIST HOLY WEEK GATHERING 2016
One of the ministries under The Better Place umbrella is the One-in-Christ movement in Chautauqua County. For the third year in a row, this ministry sponsored a city-wide gathering at the Center for the Arts in downtown Jamestown on Maundy Thursday. Fifteen pastors from as many different churches participated in “up-front” leadership of this service and many more gave their time and leadership in “behind-the-scenes” ways.
The theme this year – 2016 – was “Broken and Spilled Out.” The service began with Pastor Adam Rohler of the First Covenant Church singing a solo by the same title. The service included much singing let by a band comprised of people from several churches, drama, two keynote addresses, a community choir, communion, prayer, and a special offering.
The keynote addresses were brought by Brett Heintzman, pastor of the Jamestown Free Methodist Church, and Aaron Bjork pastor of Fellowship at the Cross of Jamestown. The topics were, “He Came to Set the Captive Free!” and “He Came to Heal the Inner Wound!”
The offering, which exceeded $6,000, will be used to bring Tracy Strawberry back to Chautauqua County for three days of inspiration teaching and for training in addiction ministry to help the church do its part in setting addicts free from drugs.
The next OIC events will be a National Day of Prayer gathering, followed by a Global Day of Prayer gathering, followed – in August – by a “Pray Jamestown” walk around the perimeter of the city.
MOVING IN UNITY
A coalition of influential Pentecostal/charismatic and evangelical leaders met this past December at the international headquarters of Every Home for Christ in Colorado Springs, CO. The coalition – including Paul Cedar (Mission America Coalition), John Bornschein (National Day of Prayer), Ed Silvoso (Harvest Evangelism), Dutch Sheets (Appeal to Heaven), Lou Engle (TheCall), David Butts (National Prayer Committee), Mike and Cindy Jacobs (Generals International), and David Kubal (Intercessors for America) – sought the Lord, strategized and came to a consensus that God was leading them to unite and issue a national call for multiple days of fasting and prayer walking.
Out of this, a broad coalition of ministries called “As One” has emerged. The vision is for believers to unite as one and appeal to heaven to change the nation’s spiritual climate. The basic strategy revolves around two 40-day periods of prayer walking, fasting and corporate prayer. The first started Easter Sunday, 27 March, and will run through the National Day of Prayer on 05 May. The second begins 30 September and will end on Election Day. In addition, there will be much collaboration with major national prayer events happening throughout the year.
The plan is to prayer walk every street and zip code, which requires an army of believers who will strap on their walking shoes and cry out to heaven. God is looking for people who will take Him at his word to “give Him no rest” until the nation returns to righteousness.
Here is the national web site for this As One endeavor: www.prayasone.org
CHAUTAUQUA LAKE MEN OF INTEGRITY
– OFF TO A FULL SCHEDULE START
Already this year, our CLMI have sponsored two Saturday morning breakfast gatherings for the men and boys of our region. The one in January was held at Zion Covenant Church in Jamestown, NY with Vernon Hilyer addressing concerns of drinking and driving and our ministry to those who struggle with all sides of this issue. This March the breakfast was hosted by Park Church in Sinclairville, NY with Ron Long challenging the men and boys to radical discipleship. Eighty-five, or more, were in attendance.
The third breakfast of the year will be hosted by Bemus Point UMC on the 14th of May. Al Batt is scheduled to be with the men that morning. Al is a highly anointed personal evangelist who will encourage the men and boys to do just what he does. When Al shared at Business Church in Jamestown on Friday the 18th of March, there were tears in the eyes of men as they received stories of the love of Jesus in action.
CLMI really started something when they brought Darryl and Tracy Strawberry to Jamestown last October. Now Tracy will be returning for three days in June to help instruct the Church in the battle against destructive addictions.
God is continuing to use this vital ministry to, for and by men of God to make a transformative difference in people’s lives and in our communities.
MEN OF INTEGRITY JANUARY BREAKFAST 2016
Once again, God was present to bless the men and boys who gathered for our MEN OF INTEGRITY breakfast.
Our first breakfast of 2016 was hosted by the Zion Covenant Church of Jamestown, NY on the 30th of January. Thanks goes to Associate Pastor Steve Kilburn and his crew for providing a place and for providing a hearty breakfast for the 70 men and boys who gathered.
After that yummy breakfast, the men went from the fellowship hall to the sanctuary of the church where our own Men of Integrity band led the way into God’s presence. – It is always a very good thing when men from many denominations of the Church worship in the unity of the Spirit! There God commands a blessing!
Following a good time of singing; our guest speaker for the morning was Vernon Hilyer. – Vern tragically lost his son, Brandon, to alcohol when Brandon was in an automobile accident some years ago. Vern spoke of the “life sentence” that accident gave him. Since that time he has dedicated his life to telling Brandon’s story and to warning people of the dangers of alcohol.
The men were clearly appreciative of what Vern shared and the way he shared it. There were good “take-a ways” for everyone to apply in his own life. – Many men took time to talk with Vern following the presentation. Here is what Vern later wrote on the “Brandons Dad” Facebook site: What a great day in Jamestown today !! Met with a great bunch of guys and yes.... Some of them said they have been down that road. One man said he has been sober for 15 years and yes, everything I said about talking to Brandon and him not hearing me because alcohol wouldn't let him, is true. Sobriety only can come if you are ready to fight it. Help your friends make the better choice. Even if you can beat the alcohol pull today, Please promise your family that you will never Drink and Drive or allow your friends to either. Thanks to all !
Vern lives in Clarion, PA. You can learn more about his ministry at, www.DUIawareness.com
Our next Men of Integrity breakfast is scheduled for Saturday morning the 12th of March from 8:00-10:00 a.m. at the Park Church, in Sinclairville, NY. To make a reservation; contact Jamie Sposato at firstname.lastname@example.org
PRAISE GOD FOR GOOD NEWS
PRAISE GOD for the good news that keeps coming in about the effect of the day Darryl and Tracy Strawberry spent in Jamestown. Prayer Letter #38 was dedicated to this. And the stories of reconciled marriages keep rolling in. Also the stories of reconciliation between parents and adult children keep coming. And then there are the people gaining victory over drugs. And there is the group of pastors who have now met twice to seek God about the Church’s role in combating drug abuse and God has been showing up and giving direction for action! And – double praise! – People continue to be saved! Praise God...may He get all the glorymonths of planning and anticipation, Darryl and Tracy Strawberry were in Jamestown for a very full day on Saturday the 3rd of October. - The morning event was held in the gymnasium at the Jamestown Community College. This was for people of all walks of life who were interested in learning more about their possible role in drug abuse prevention. - The afternoon event was a lunch meeting with addicts at the Gateway Center in Jamestown. The evening event was back at the college and the topic as "Love and Respect in Marriage."
Many lives were touched at each event as God's presence was powerfully felt and as the Strawberrys shared and taught from experience and with a firm grip on the word of God.
The Strawberry tri-event was on the 3rd of October. On the 23rd and 24th we held our fall Agape Prayer Ministry School in Warren, PA. These schools are always blessed by the obvious presence of God and people are always healed and set free, but the skies were really open like I have never experienced before for favor to follow the participants after the School. One woman from Chautauqua County wrote: “I've been telling my husband about the prayer ministry and healing prayer. Even though I only barely began my session, the topics I addressed have left me with a feeling of peace that wasn't present before.” A man from Corning, NY wrote: “I just wanted to say thanks to all of you and that God is awesome! I have been having issues at work and spent a lot of my session dealing with that. So today at work I was planning on humbling myself and apologizing to the guy who had said that his problem with me was that "was breathing". I was going to apologize for griping about him behind his back. But before I got out a word he apologized to me. So our relationship was restored to better than it was. Also a friend was about to have surgery and I went over to pray for him and his wife prayed for protection for me while I was working, without any prompting, she was just led by the Spirit. Also numerous people came to me and said how grateful they were that I worked here. And all for various reasons. I almost lost it. Lol. Numerous people all went to the boss and told her that they wanted me to get the facilitator job. It looks to be a done deal. And that was just before lunch. After and during lunch so much more happened. Lol God is awesome! I feel so blessed to have been part of this weekend and a participant in Gods plans. Thank you all. You are all awesome!” AND a pastor from Pennsylvania wrote: “Thanks Roy and all for a great couple days. As you can guess: Strike the under-shepherd with a good, dose of the Holy Ghost and the sheep will unify! This church doesn't know what hit them yet. The spiritual ones knew something transformational happened to me this weekend and have affirmed it as very good and an answer to prayer. A lady in my church had a vision and called me up. She said she didn't know what it meant but HAD to tell me. I knew exactly what she was saying. She was saying there was a new type of revival coming in America and I was a great part of it. I immediately thought of you folks and like-minded people across America. The funny thing is I wasn't shocked, wasn't prideful, awed, or surprised -- I feel like it resonated and I was prepared for this direction to help in the future. A week ago I would have been flattered and thought the person was hyper-spiritual. Being at peace with my calling is a GREAT feeling. Thank you. I feel indebted to you all. You guided me to the right path, created a comfortable environment to pray; and helped me release a bunch of strongholds in my life. They were chains to me, but now they seem like thin threads of string that kept me bound. Nothing is too hard for you. (Jeremiah 32:17). The greatest gift I have is losing fear: my past -- forgiven. Present -- provided for. Future -- secure. I can't think of a better gift; thank you!”
Subsequent emails from these people speak of the blessing continuing to flow. And it is not only for these whose words I have shared here, but for others also. YOUR PRAYERS REALLY DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE! THANK YOU!
As 2015 is coming to an end and we look forward to what God has prepared in 2016; this letter comes with a prayer for you, that you will know God more intimately than ever before in the ensuing months and years. We pray God’s provision for you, His favor upon you, His presence with you, His protection all about you, and His perfect health within you as you faithfully engage in those specific ministries to which He has called you. May God hear you when you call and answer your prayers!
For those who live in North America, please consider an extra year-end gift to The Better Place for the Campus Vision. Also, here are two ways you can help the Better Place financially without actually giving money:
#1, Do all your web searches through Goodsearch.com and do your on-line shopping through Goodshop.com and make The Better Place the organization you support. It will add up.
#2, If you live in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, or Washington, D.C., you may qualify to be an Ambit Energy customer for electric and gas. Basically what this is about is you can sign up to receive energy from Ambit under The Better Place for at least 2% less than you currently pay. You will continue to have energy delivered by the same company that now delivers it, but you will pay less and The Better Place will receive a percentage. This is something the above states have set up to help energy competition. Interested? Call or contact Nina Bell (a member of our Board) at 716/450-2272 or email@example.com and she will get you signed up.
TRI-EVENT WITH DARRYL AND TRACY STRAWBERRY
The big day finally arrived. After months of planning and anticipation, Darryl and Tracy Strawberry were in Jamestown for a very full day on Saturday the 3rd of October. - The morning event was held in the gymnasium at the Jamestown Community College. This was for people of all walks of life who were interested in learning more about their possible role in drug abuse prevention. - The afternoon event was a lunch meeting with addicts at the Gateway Center in Jamestown. The evening event was back at the college and the topic as "Love and Respect in Marriage."
Many lives were touched at each event as God's presence was powerfully felt and as the Strawberrys shared and taught from experience and with a firm grip on the word of God.
Following the morning event people lingered to speak with the Strawberrys for half an hour. Many people also came to our Director, Roy Miller, to tell him how much they appreciated the event and what a huge difference it had made in their lives already because of what they learned. A mother and her son were reconciled at that event as they learned the "do's" and "don'ts of parent/child relationships where the child is an addict.
Over 100 copies of the booklets "Knowing Christ" and also "First Step to Adventure" were picked up by people after the invitation in the morning and again in the evening to do so "If you want to learn more about living in the power of the salvation Jesus offers." More people made decisions for Christ at the afternoon event.
Reports after the evening event include one of a man calling his father to give and receive forgiveness; a business man who went home to his wife and confessed his sin against her - there was repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation and a married couple slept in the same beg with each other for the first time in over two years. God be praised! And there have been many heart-warming testimonies of this kind.
God is good and great strides were taken in positive directions in the battle against drug abuse and in the battle for godly marriages because of this God-ordained event.
Many thanks to the leaders of our Chautauqua Lake Men of Integrity and also to Darryl and Tracy Strawberry!
The Better Place Board member, Nina Bell, gave leadership to a gathering for encouragement in light of what God is doing in our region and in the world. This took place on Saturday the 26th of September and was hosted by the Fluvanna Community Church in Jamestown, NY. - Everyone enjoyed a banquet meal that was prepared by Nina and some of her helpers.
The program included music led by Lisa Glasier from Fredonia, NY and interpretive dance performed by some young ladies from Lakewood, NY. Words of encouragement were brought by Ron Long, by Dr. Roy Miller (our Director), Joseph and Margaret Nsubuga from Uganda, and by Greg Edwards (former Chautauqua County Executive and current Director of the Gebbie Foundation).
A $1.00 per person offering was received for The Better Place Campus and, when counted, the donations added up to $824! No, there were not 824 people present; that was just God’s arithmetic at work again.
ONE IN CHRIST CONCERT OF PRAYER
It was the 16th of September when a faithful few gathered at the Jamestown Church of the Nazarene for a "One in Christ" concert of prayer. - Thank you to the musicians from the Nazarene church who led us into God's presence with songs of praise! - Following some singing, Host Pastor, Mark Hanson, welcomed those who had shown up. Then our Director, Roy Miller, gave some procedural information and led those present in a unison prayer of declaration over the city.
After another song Mark Hinman, the pastor of Hillcrest Baptist, introduced the prayer topic of "Schools, students, teachers, administrators" and then those present got into small groups to give voice to prayers in partnership with God. In due time the musicians began another song which all present joined in. - Next Bishop Leecroft Clarke, pastor of Healing Word Ministries Church of God, introduced the prayer topic of "Law enforcement personnel, police, sheriff officers, troopers" and again the prayers went up from the small groups all around the sanctuary. - After another song Tom Calzone, who is a minister at the Nazarene Church, introduced the topic of "The unity of the Church." and the people prayed.
After another song, Dr. Miller made some announcements about upcoming unity events in the region and Host Pastor, Dr. Hanson pronounced a blessing which was followed by a final song. - Two hours goes by very fast when God's people are ministering with each other in prayer and worship in His presence. Everyone present was highly blessed to have been there!
THY KINGDOM COME – PRAYING FOR THE DOMAIN OF GOD
Devils gain footholds in cities and geographic regions through the portal of sins committed by people in those cities and regions. Because Devils come to steal, kill and destroy their presence in a region is always detrimental. - Demonic footholds are removed by repentance; therefore Daniel repented for the sins of Israel clearing the way for them to return to their promised land and Jerusalem after 70 years in exile and captivity; thus Ezra repented for the sins of those who returned to the Promise Land; Thus Jesus received a baptism of repentance on behalf of all Israel which opened the way for a ministry of healing and deliverance.
This past July Dennis Brown asked our Director, Roy Miller, to join him in repenting for the sins of pioneers, early settlers, and Native Americans which were committed along the main transportation artery of Chautauqua County (before it was Chautauqua County) and, of course, to also declare the domain of our Lord Jesus over the region and to welcome his transforming presence. They were joined by The Better Place Board Vice Chairman, Marc Samworth.
They prayed at the crest of the old Portage Road that went from Lake Erie to the western shore of Chautauqua Lake. Then they prayed at the western shore where boats would be put into the water for a trip all the way to New Orleans. And they prayed at the eastern end of the Lake where it empties into the Chadakoin River, which flows into the Alleghany River, which flows into the Ohio, which flows into the Mississippi which goes down to New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. – These were spiritually strategic points at which to pray.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS FALL MEETING
Our Board of Directors has a tradition of meeting at the home of our Ministry Director, Roy Miller, for their September meeting. That meeting took place on Saturday the 12th of September this year; 2015 -- As always, it was a good time together as Board members prayed for and with each other, as they listened to God for guidance, and as they had fun and fellowship.
Current Board members are:
Nina Bell, Jamestown, NY – Becky Cable, Sherman, NY – Desiree Goodenow, Cattaraugus, NY – Bonnie Hurley, Jamestown, NY – Rev. Carles Moore, Warren, PA – Kimberly Park, Jamestown, NY – Gordon Post, Northeast, PA – Cindy Robison, Lakewood, NY – Rev. Marc Samworth, Frewsburg, NY – Mark Summers, Clymer, NY – And it has now been announced that Tom Calzone from Lakewood, NY who is a member of the Jamestown Church of the Nazarene will be joining the Board.
FINAL SESSION OF THE SCHOOL OF PRAYER FOR 2015
The Fourth and final session of our Regional School of Prayer for 2015 took place at Park Church in Sinclairville, NY on Saturday the 5th of September. - As is always the case; God's presence was wonderful. Sixteen people from almost as many different churches grew together in understanding God's will for healing prayer as they also grew together in the unity of the Spirit.
This was not only the last Session of the Regional School of Prayer for 2015, but it may be the last Session for some time to come. The Better Place Director and School teacher, Roy Miller, announced that as much of his time and energy as possible will be given to raising money for The Better Place campus starting in 2016 and continuing until the campus is established and staff endowments are in place. The next time The Better Place offers a School of Prayer, it will take place on The Better Place property.
At the moment, The Better Place does not own the land that God has designated for the future Campus. [See “Facilities” under the “About The Better Place” tab on this web site for information about the future Campus.]
For more photos from the School of Prayer in 2015, and also for photos and stories about any events of The Better Place; look through the time-line at The Better Place Facebook pages.
REGIONAL SCHOOL OF PRAYER
SESSION THREE, 13 June 2015
The third session of our 2015 Regional School of Prayer, which was held on the 13th of June, was small in number of participants, but, of course, huge in Holy Spirit presence. Five churches were represented by the nine people who were present.
The topic for the day was: The Four Calls of 2 Chronicles 7:14.
And the teachings through the day included:
First teaching: Call to Humility, Second teaching: Call to Prayer (Intercession), Third teaching: Call to Seek God, Fourth teaching: Call to Repent
MEN OF INTEGRITY HOLD THEIR THIRD BREAKFAST OF 2015
The Chautauqua Lake Region Men of Integrity held their third breakfast of the year at the Jamestown Church of the Nazarene on Saturday the 16th of May.
Many thanks go to the mem of the Nazarene church for hosting and for preparing the breakfast meal for the over 60 men and boys who showed up!
The guest speaker for this breakfast was Mike Masters from Lancaster, NY. Mike is the founder of “Cross Training Football” that has now become “Cross Training Athletics.” This is the 10th year this ministry has been underway. It has grown from four school’s football teams into over forty schools and multiple sports. Cross Training Athletics is a program whose purpose is: “To serve, encourage, and train coaches and athletes to be people of integrity and to transform the hearts of coaches and athletes to be people of character.” One thing Mike Masters shared with the men on the 16th was that you are free to quote Scripture non-stop in the public school setting just as long as you do not tell them that you are quoting Scripture. But since God’s word is living and active it still has a powerful transforming and enlightening effect on the hearers. The men who were present on the 16th heard plenty of God’s powerful word as Mike shared his powerful story to the glory of God!
REFRESHING PASTORS AND NETWORKING FOR REVIVAL IN UGANDA
- Exuberant worship is standard in churches in Uganda. This photo was taken during morning worship at the Nabweru Church of God where Dr. Miller preached.
- One of the projects The Better Places has championed is the building of the Dayspring School which opened this year to 60 students who had no place to go to school before. Here we see Dr. Miller addressing some of the students who came during their holiday to meet with him.
- At Kamuge in Pallisa District, the crowd gathered beneath a tent each day and night to hear what our team members would teach and preach.
- After ministry with the word there was an extended time of prayer ministry.
- Kevin and Roy can be seen praying with people who want to be baptized with the Spirit
- As a thank you, our team members were presented with many gifts; including these chickens. L-R are Roy, Kevin, and Beth.
For the fifth year our Director, Rev. Dr. Roy Miller, led a small team of pastors from Jamestown, NY to Uganda in East Africa to teach pastors and other church leaders in conference settings.
The team this year consisted of Rev. Beth Whitehead, pastor of the North Main Street Church of God in Jamestown and Pastor Kevin Costner of the Camp Street United Methodist Church in Jamestown along with Dr. Miller. This was the second year for Beth to go on this mission and the first year for Kevin.
Our team landed at Uganda’s international airport in Entebbe late at night on Friday the 24th of April. It was very early Saturday morning by the time they arrived at their hotel in the capital city of Kampala. Saturday was a day to run errands (purchase bottles of water, get cash at a bank) and also a day to visit one of the projects we promote the support of; a piggery. >>Read the entire article here.
ONE IN CHRIST - MAUNDY THURSDAY
One ministry of The Better Place is called “ONE IN CHRIST.” This ministry exists to bring believers together in worship, proclamation of the Gospel, and prayer to strengthen the unity of the Church.
For the second year in a row, OIC held a worship and proclamation service on Maundy Thursday – the 2nd of April 2015 – in the Jamestown Center for the Arts. This theater was filled almost to capacity; both on the floor level and in the balcony, as the grace of God in Jesus Christ and the unity of his Church was celebrated.
The welcome was given by Rev. Rick LaDue of the Kidder Memorial U. M. Church followed by the invocation which was brought by Rev. Amy Roller of First Covenant Church and Helping Hands Ministry. – A worship band comprised of people who represented a dozen different congregations of the Church led in singing and there was also a community choir made up of believers for many different congregations of the Church. >> Read the entire article and view the video.
SIDUQUE FOFANA, SPEAKS AT MEN OF INTEGRITY BREAKFAST
On Saturday Morning, the 7th of March, the Chautauqua Lake Region Men of Integrity (a ministry of The Better Place) gathered at the Christ-First United Methodist Church in Jamestown, NY for their second breakfast gathering of the year. The fellowship was great, as always, and our speaker brought a timely, challenging and encouraging word.
Our speaker was Sidique Fofana who now resides in Russell, PA but who was born and grew up in Guinea, West Africa. Sidique was born and raised a Muslim. When he came to Christ as a teenager he was put into prison, but God preserved his life and eventually he found his way to the States. His testimony is a powerful message of God's protection, provision, deliverance and forgiveness.
As per usual, the Men of Integrity Band was present to lead the men in worship
The Men of Integrity have their next breakfast scheduled for the morning of May 16 at the Nazarene Church in Jamestown, NY. Check our COMING EVENTS page for details as they are made available.
After breakfast the men gathered in the chapel at Christ-First Church
SESSION ONE DVD HAS BEEN RELEASED
During 2013 each Session of the Regional School of Prayer was videoed by Joel Marsh. Since videography is a “moonlighting” job for Joel, it is taking quite some time for him to turn all that video into saleable DVDs, but Session One of our Regional School of Prayer was ready at the end of the summer of 2014.
[Please keep praying for Joel to have time to complete Sessions Two, Three and Four.]
The Session One DVD was first made available for sale on the Book Table at the Third Session of the School of Prayer in September of 2014.
At the present this DVD is available only at TBP events or by directly contacting our Director.
It will be made available at our on-line Book Store when the DVDs of all four sessions have been completed. Each DVD has four hours of solid teaching on them. The topics covered on the Session One DVD are “Discerning Our Call to Prayer Ministry,” “Jesus Our M
odel,” “Releasing the Power,” “Persistence,” “Vision for Transformation,” and “Prayer Mapping Primer.”
The sale price of each DVD is $24.99 for one DVD, $44.98 for two [and $66.97 for three and $87.96 for four]. Complete School of Prayer three-ring notebooks are also available at a cost of $20.00 each.