I don’t know about you but I feel like I’m moving on from the holding pattern created by the pandemic. I’m very thankful that almost everyone in my family is vaccinated (other than my youngest) and that there are more in person opportunities happening in the community. On Labour Day my family walked around the Tiger Cats football stadium for the first home game since covid. We saw lots of smiles, heard lots of cheers, and even saw the SnowBirds fly over in spectacular formation. There was a real energy in the air. I’m looking forward to some of that same energy spilling over into my life and ministry this fall at GOHOP (Greater Ontario House of Prayer).
Coordinating GOPHOP’s “Prayer for Pastors & Leaders” Team:
This fall I will be taking on the responsibility of interim coordinator for our weekly “Prayer for Pastors & Leaders” team. Supporting pastors is a big part of the reason I joined GOHOP so I’m very excited to be given this opportunity. Every Friday at 9:30am we pray for the pastors, leaders and churches of Hamilton (and beyond). At 11am we meet with a different pastor/leader for a personal prayer session. We take some time to listen to God on the pastor’s behalf and then share with them the words, feelings, scripture, or image that came to mind. To keep things safe, listening prayers are offered in a humble way where the person being listened for decides what they want to keep. If it doesn’t resonate the person is free to say “I have no idea what that is about, I’m just going to leave that with you.”
Last year this prayer time was 100% done over Zoom. This year we are going to start meeting more often in person. Many pastors are so weary of online interactions, while other leaders are still unable to meet in person. My plan is to take our cue from the person being prayed for. If the person wants to meet in person we will gladly do that. If Zoom is preferred (for any reason) we have had over a year of practice and can meet in that digital space with confidence and authenticity.
Keeping the zoom option open also allows us to meet with leaders outside of the Hamilton area. Last year it was a real blessing to connect with people from Missisiaga, Toronto, and Ottawa. Meeting this wider circle of pastors was a real blessing to us and helped combat our own feelings of online isolation.
- Please pray for me in this new leadership role. Pray that I would be able to connect with pastors and leaders who would benefit from this ministry. Pray that I could strike the right balance of in-person and zoom prayer times.
- If you would like to learn more about listening prayer check out Barnabas (an online learning community that I’m part of): https://www.gohop.ca/barnabas-listening-prayer
2021 Virtual Prayer Truck Recap:
Once again the Virtual Prayer Truck happened during the month of July. To kick off the event I did a live worship painting as part of an outdoor gathering in front of Living Rock Ministries. The piece is now hanging in a little alcove in front of the Rock. This little patch of concrete is often used by street involved youth as a safe space. While I was creating that painting, I tried to pray into the location where this art work would end up living. The very next day a homeless couple found shelter under the blessing “Peace Be To These Streets.”
For the rest of the month I was part of daily prayer walks where we handed out water downtown. We were encouraged to be open to asking people if they would like to be prayed for. I found it easy to connect with people in need of water. In some of my previous jobs I did program outreach for street youth. I already knew some of the spots people would be hanging out and I knew that the water would be welcome on a hot day. Most days I would give out a case of water in about an hour. Offering to pray for strangers was much less natural. A few other GOHOP staff members heard about all the water I was giving out and wanted to join me on my walks. When I had someone to walk with we were able to offer prayer more naturally along with the water (Jesus must have known what he was doing when he sent the disciples out in pairs).
On the last day of the Virtual Prayer Truck I got to be part of a closing worship gathering in front of the Rock. It was a real celebration of the journey we had been on.
- There is a sense at GOHOP that we need to continue to be connected to the streets through prayer walking. Please pray for us as we continue to find ways to pray for and with people who are homeless or street involved.
As I come up to one year at GOHOP I feel very grateful for all the financial contributions I have received from family, friends, ministry partners and even some strangers. It was a big leap of faith stepping into a ministry where I have to raise my own support. God has been very faithful in mobilizing the support I need each month, often with a healthy buffer of 3-6 months. That cushion has felt pretty good but it is now not so big:
- I currently have support raised to be paid in full until the end of September 2021. It is statistically very hard to fundraise over the summer break so I was very thankful that my buffer brought me into the school year.
- I need to raise an additional $1410 a month starting in October 2021. 48% of my fundraising budget is covered by people who have signed up for monthly giving plans. The other 52% has come from one time donations that are very helpful but less predictable.
Here are some ways you can help:
- Consider signing up for a monthly giving plan.My goal is to increase my monthly givers to 75%. I currently have 12 monthly givers that contribute a combined total of $1300 a month. Some people give $25 a month others give $300 a month. It all helps to make my ministry with GOHOP sustainable.
- If you gave a one time gift over the last year, please consider making a donation again this year.
- Ask your church, small group or leadership team if they would be interested in having me visit them. I would be happy to teach, lead music, talk about GOHOP or lead a creative spiritual practice activity.
- Please pray for my fundraising efforts. In my first newsletter I joked that GOHOP is the “Greater Ontario House of Prayer” not the “Greater Ontario House of Fundraising” and that is still true. Prayer support is absolutely an act of generosity.
Donations can be made online (through CanadaHelps) or by cheque.
I am very transparent about money and have posted all my fundraising goals (including my rate of pay) here: https://randellneudorf.com/gohop/fundraising-plan/
I sometimes post drawings from my art journal along with a written reflection on my Facebook & Instagram pages. This practice has been a way for me to combine thoughts about my spiritual, artistic and family life all in one place. Here is the story from my last post about some unwanted guests:
“My family spent much of the summer this year battling bed bugs. It was so much work getting our house ready for a heat treatment. We spent a solid week from sun up to sun down bagging up laundry, making trips to the laundromat, sorting, decluttering and throwing things in the garbage.
The first treatment didn’t get all the bugs so a month later we needed a follow up treatment (under warranty) of some kind of fungal powder that is poisonous to the bugs. That was another week of moving furniture and doing laundry to get ready. Thankfully the second treatment finished the job and 2 months later things are starting to feel normal again.
That being said I was having bug nightmares up until the last week of August. I also felt really isolated, I didn’t want to unknowingly pass along the bugs to friends or family. Thankfully I have some friends who are really open and honest about their own bed bug battles. I also found that every time I was open about what we were going through that people would share their own stories about having bed bugs.
These little pests (that are absolutely a huge problem) have too much power to silence, isolate and shame people.
I’m trying to be open about what my family went through to help other people not feel alone. We got bed bugs in the middle of a pandemic while we were more isolated than any other time in our lives. It absolutely can happen to anyone. It isn’t a Hamilton thing or a poor thing, it is an everywhere thing. I was listening to a Ted Talk on resilience and it spoke about the importance of not falling into the “why me?” trap. It said that resilient people ask “why not me?”In my first drawing from my art journal I was trying to convey the all encompassing fear and anxiety I was experiencing. I was very much stuck in a cycle of “Why me?!”
In the second drawing I was trying to right size that fear and anxiety and hand it over to the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t until I went on a one day spiritual retreat by myself that I was able to let go of some of my anxiety.I still have moments of phantom Bed Bug induced anxiety but I’m doing much better. Being open and honest helps a lot. Focusing more on God and less on me also helps. Both these things are helping me be more resilient and right sizing my perspective by saying “Why not me?””
- Please pray that my house would continue to be bed bug free. Also pray that we wouldn’t let the fear of bed bugs keep us from being a hospitable family. Pray that we would catch any future pests before they become an issue.
I just wanted to let you know that we had a great start to our Asah: Creativity & Prayer Studio nights. We plan to continue this but we need to take a break in September to plan ahead. One of the creative activities I led was using abstract art as a way of thinking about the Fruits of the Spirit. Sometimes abstract art can get at the feeling behind a word or idea that can open us up to the Holy Spirit. I’m looking forward to leading more of these experiments in prayerful art and artful prayer in the near future.