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We cultivate intentional relationships with our neighbors and others in the city of Lansing, seeking to meet their physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs, and creating environments for authentic community to help others know Jesus, grow in Jesus, and share Jesus with those around them.

God Grows: Knowing and Loving Him

The year 2022 started slowly for us. I (Elizabeth) had a lingering cold since Christmas and just as I was almost recovered and ready to reconnect with people after the holidays, Phil and I got covid. We felt exhausted from the sickness and frustrated that so many scheduled times to be with people had to be canceled or moved. But God is faithful and we were done with covid just in time to take the Trinity Church middle schoolers on their winter retreat at the end of January!
That weekend at Miracle Camp was a wonderful bonding time for the eight students who attended and the atmosphere made room for deeper conversations and open hearts. We started the weekend as (somewhat) friends and came home as a family. 

Stopping at Wendy's on the way home from winter retreat.
The following week we were ready to hit the ground running and get back into a rhythm in the neighborhood. I especially wanted to fill my calendar, because I had spent three weeks being sick and I felt guilty that I hadn't gotten in very many "ministry hours". But God pressed on my heart that I need to surrender my time to Him, trusting that He will fill my time with what He wants. By His grace, He helped me surrender my control over my time to Him, and the following day, new opportunities with neighbors came up so that my time was filled in better ways than I could have planned. Isn't it great that God waits for us to give up our desires before He fulfills them?

So, February was full of deeper relationships with several neighbors, new relationships with some neighbors, time spent connecting with and encouraging our students at Impact, getting to know some Lansing area high school students through Campus Life and tutoring, and encouraging times of bible study and fellowship with Jesus-loving friends. 

However, with a filled schedule, it is all too easy for me to spend so much time with other people that I neglect my own quiet time with God. I feel good and successful when I am in relationship with other people, even though my primary purpose for living is to be in relationship with God. Of course, the fruit of my relationship with God should be to pursue and disciple other people for Him. But just because I am bearing fruit doesn't mean I can jump off the vine and stop abiding in Him! In the last week, He has been asking me to look at Him more. To know and love Him more. In response to that call, I spent some really sweet time with God while reading the bible. As I read His words, I was like a child sitting on my Father's lap while He was telling me a story. I was reading the scripture with the intention of knowing and loving Him more, instead of reading it to gain spiritual knowledge or because I know it is a good thing to do.

What practices does God want you to add or increase in your life to know and love Him more?

Here are a few more of the highlights from this year so far:
Phil's weekly bible studies with 7-8 middle school boys have been full of distraction, craziness, honesty, and depth. They truly desire to know God more and grow in their faith, and this time has allowed them to read the Bible together, talk about what it means to look more like Jesus, and ask tough questions. 
Bonding times with the Impact students included an evening of sledding and an all-night lock-in. Fun activities are important for connecting with middle schoolers, and now that we have those shared experiences with them, we are praying about how we can challenge and equip them more strategically to know and love God more.
Getting involved with both Campus Life and tutoring at Eastern High School has allowed us to connect with students in Lansing and begin to develop relationships with them, a few of which live in our neighborhood. There is unfortunately so much violence that happens among the youth in Lansing and it breaks our hearts. We can't solve it on our own, but we want to play our part to love and serve the students that God gives us. (Picture of a trash ball competition at tutoring)
Phil and Elliott have been meeting together weekly now for a year, diving into the Word, talking about life with Jesus, and serving others together. Elliott has grown a lot in his relationship with Jesus and is now discipling another young man and is seeking opportunities to witness to his non-believing friends.
Some of the best ways we have connected to neighbors in these months have been through helping them with what they need. We had the opportunity to drive two of our neighbors, including Dickey (pictured above), to appointments and other errands because of them not having a car or their car breaking. We also helped some neighbors move out of their house and helped others shovel their snow. All of these activities made room for spending time with those neighbors, having meaningful conversations, and showing them that our love for them does not come with strings attached. 
Prayer Requests:
  • We started meeting with a small group of Jesus-loving neighbors who want to reach their own neighbors for Jesus. Pray that God will speak to us in our times together and that He will unite even more of the Christians in Churchill Downs so that, as the body of Christ, we can make a bigger impact.
  • Pray for continued favor for Phil in his relationships with the employees at Defy Trampoline Park. Phil uses that place as his gym, but has also gotten to know many of the young men who work there and invites them to know Jesus more. One of them in particular, Mario, has already agreed to meet with Phil, so pray that their schedules align regularly to get together and for Mario's continued growth in Christ. 
  • Pray for healing, both physically and spiritually, for Dickey. He has a whole host of diseases that are deteriorating his body, but we know Jesus's power to heal and restore. His health, on top of his past experiences and trauma, also lead him to not believe in God. Pray that God will open his eyes to Jesus's immense love, goodness, and healing.  
  • Pray generally for all the discipling relationships that we have, both with Christians and non-Christians, that they will hear from God themselves and grow more in their relationships with Jesus. 
  • Pray that we will not idolize anything, even God's work, over our relationship with God Himself. Pray that He would continually teach us how to be present with Him in everything we are doing and that we will protect our daily quiet time with Him.
Partner with us!
Our team of financial partners is so important in making this ministry happen, and it is a joy to be able to share in what God is doing. If you would like to get to know us or our ministry more, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We would love to talk on the phone or meet with you to share more about what God has called us to do here in Lansing (our contact info is below). If you want to support us financially, we have three options for donating:
  • Check made out to MCMD sent to 11929 Upton Rd, Bath, MI 48808
  • Bill pay through your bank
  • Paypal (through link below)
Link to Info Page and Past Newsletter
Phil and Elizabeth Stepnowski
God Grows: The Stepnowski Family on mission in Lansing with Jesus
Our mailing address is:
5010 Conners Ave, Lansing, MI 48911
Our Contact Info:
Phil cell: (708) 698-4404, Elizabeth cell: (517) 290-6955

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MCMD · 11929 Upton Rd · Bath, MI 48808-8426 · USA

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