Much of the Christian world tomorrow celebrates Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, which according to Scripture is when Jesus Christ, who died on a Roman cross and was buried in a borrowed tomb, rose from the dead.
Whether or not you believe that Jesus was the son of God, as author and pastor John Ortberg says in his latest book, there is no mistaking the impact of his life. As evidence of that impact, The Bee has compiled a small sampling of nonprofit Christian organizations that work throughout the world and in the Modesto community to benefit many people of all races and religions.
Here they are:
INTERNATIONAL NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS: These organizations serve because of Jesus Christ. Local churches and individuals support these groups, which are listed in alphabetical order:
Convoy of Hope (www.convoyofhope.org) Founded in 1994; has served more than 55 million people through children's feeding initiatives, disaster response and partner resourcing. Feeds more than 120,000 children in El Salvador, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Kenya, Nicaragua and the Philippines.
Church World Service (www.cwsglobal.org) Created in 1946 with 17 Catholic and Protestant denominations to provide 11 million pounds of food, clothing and medical supplies to war-torn Europe and Asia, CWS now partners with churches and agencies in 30 countries to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote justice.
Compassion International (www.compassion.com) Began in 1952 after a pastor saw the plight of Korean War orphans. Works through local churches to deliver children from economic, physical, social and spiritual poverty. Uses child sponsorships.
Gospel for Asia (www.gfa.org) Begun by a pastor from India, Gospel for Asia has Bible colleges throughout South Asia. Agency also provides clean drinking water and disaster relief.
International Justice Mission (www.ijm.org) Human rights organization rescues victims of violence, sexual exploitation, slavery and oppression.
Samaritan's Purse (www.samaritanspurse.org) Founded in 1970, the organization sends relief aid for worldwide crises, plus provides drinking water, education, farming assistance, etc. Also operates Operation Christmas Child, which has provided gift-filled shoe boxes to more than 100 million children in more than 130 countries.
Sim Galmi Hospital, Niger, West Africa (www.sim.org) Provides medical care in Niger, where there is only one doctor for every 30,000 residents. Clinics in Galmi serve up to 300 people daily, mostly Muslims.
World Vision (www.worldvision.org) The world's largest relief and child sponsorship organization. Serving 100 million people in 100 countries, the agency also provides humanitarian aid.
LOCAL NONPROFIT AGENCIES: Here is a partial list of local nonprofit organizations that exist because of Jesus:
Advancing Vibrant Communities (www.vibrantcommunities.org) Founded in June 2002 to help churches link volunteers with opportunities to serve in response to Jesus' command to "love your neighbor as yourself." AVC gets 60 to 70 calls per week; thousands of volunteers have provided services and donated goods, such as installing safety bars, donations of furniture, minor home repairs and yard maintenance. (209) 544-9571.
Bethany Christian Services (www.bethany.org/modesto) Part of a global Christian organization serving children in more than 19 countries on five continents and in more than 100 locations in the United States. "Locally, we provide pregnancy counseling and adoption services and provide housing for pregnant women in Bethany's House." 3048 Hahn Drive, Modesto; (209) 522-5121.
Family Connections Christian Adoptions (www.fcadoptions.org) Founded in 1983, Family Connections has six offices in California. "We have expertise in all kinds of adoption from infant relinquishment, to waiting children from foster care and children from other countries. We have placed almost 5,000 children ranging from infants to teens into adoptive families." 1120 Tully Road, Modesto 95350; (209) 544-8844.
Shared Blessings International Christian Ministries (www.sharedblessingsicm.org) Founded in 1997, the organization aids orphans and destitute children in Uganda and India through a child sponsorship program. Projects also include construction of orphanages, a medical facility and three wells, and creating goat herds, chickens and bee hive businesses. No paid staff; all donations go to the work. (Uses space and phone inside Family Connections, above.)
Family Promise of Greater Modesto (www.modestofamilypromise.com) Rotating among local congregations, the agency that began in 2005 provides meals and overnight accommodations for temporarily homeless families with children. 2301 Woodland Ave., Suite 8, Modesto; (209) 549-9454.
Habitat for Humanity, Stanislaus (www.stanislaushabitat.org) Begun in 1989, the local branch of the international ministry builds affordable housing for low-income families. 630 Kearney Ave., Modesto; (209) 575-4585.
Interfaith Ministries of Greater Modesto (www.interfaithmodesto.org) Begun about 40 years ago, main services are providing food and clothing to needy people. In 2012, provided groceries to more than 3,000 people each month. Children make up 80 percent of people served. 120 Kerr Ave., Modesto; (209) 572-3117.
Medical Ambassadors International (www.medicalambassadors.org) Founded in 1980 by a physician, MAI teaches Community Health Evangelism to individuals, who teach their neighbors, in some of the poorest places in the world. CHE, now in 118 countries, helps with physical and spiritual teaching. 5012 Salida Blvd., Salida; (209) 543-7500
Modesto Gospel Mission (www.homelessmission.org) Since 1948, Modesto Gospel Mission has provided meals, beds and safety for thousands of poor and homeless adults and children. 1400 Yosemite Blvd., (209) 529-8259.
Modesto Pregnancy Center (www.modestopc.org) Provides services to women in crisis pregnancies and practical needs (diapers, maternity and baby clothes), as well as classes and other support. 2801 Coffee Road, Suite A-5, Modesto; (209) 526-1734.
Reconciling God's Way (www.reconcilinggodsway.org) Offers resources and a Marriage 911 class for individuals or couples whose marriages are in crisis. (209) 578-4357
The Salvation Army (www.salvationarmymodesto. org) The local branch operates the Red Shield Center in southwest Modesto, which hosts 100 to 150 school-age children each weekday. Also, 10 percent of those who go there are senior citizens. 1649 Las Vegas St., Modesto; (209) 262-0479. The Salvation Army also operates a Child Development Center at 601 I St. in Modesto for preschoolers and general child care and runs the Berberian Homeless and Transition Shelter at 9th and D streets, which provides an evening meal and overnight sleeping accommodations.
Youth for Christ Central Valley (www.scyfc.com) Begun in 1947, the agency works with at-risk youth between the ages of 12 and 20 in schools, at Juvenile Hall, in small groups and in other settings. "We work with 1,000 12- to 20-year-olds each week." 918 Sierra Drive, Modesto; (209) 522-9568.
CHURCHES GIVE AID, TOO: Here is a partial list of the work that local churches are doing in our community because of Jesus Christ. This is in addition to supporting the local nonprofits listed above:
Big Valley Grace Community Church runs Olivianna's Closet, which gives assistance to single mothers of infants through toddlers, including blankets, clothes and diapers. The congregation also runs a Good Samaritan ministry that provides food for 175 to 200 needy families each month.
Calvary Lutheran Church has a quilters ministry to sew quilts, lap robes, baby blankets and other items for local children's facilities and homeless shelters, as well as overseas missions. Once a month, church members also provide hundreds of sandwiches, breakfast burritos and more to the homeless in Modesto's downtown area.
The Carpenter's House Compassion Ministries offers weekly food and clothing distribution. The group also is ready to launch a GED tutoring program.
College Avenue Congregation Church-UCC operates the food pantry and clothes closet of Interfaith Ministries on the fourth Saturday of every month.
First United Methodist Church holds a "coffee and conversation" on Sunday mornings, which includes breakfast to those who come, most of whom are homeless or poor. The church also takes a monthly offering to benefit the poor. The women's group is collecting new socks and underwear to give to agencies such as The Salvation Army.
Modesto Free Methodist Church operates a community food pantry, offers Financial Peace University and Marriage 911 classes, and participates in Safe Families for Children. The youth also give out backpacks, sleeping bags and boxes of supplies to the homeless, and the church plans to open its new gym to the community.
Modesto Covenant Church participates with outreaches such as Love Modesto, Family Promise and providing meals at The Salvation Army's shelter. Church members also tutor and mentor children at Orville Wright Elementary School in Modesto.
Shelter Cove Community Church runs "The Church in the Park" every Sunday in Beard Park, which includes feeding, clothing, giving hygiene packs and caring for the homeless.
St. Joseph's Catholic Church feeds nearly 4,000 adults each year at The Salvation Army's homeless shelter. Its St. Vincent de Paul Society provides more than $70,000 each year in emergency utility assistance and more than 7,000 bags of groceries to needy families.
Trinity United Presbyterian Church feeds people at The Salvation Army's homeless shelter. Members also glean food for Interfaith Ministries and volunteer there, and they gather backpacks throughout the year to provide school supplies to needy children in local schools.