Archive for January, 2017

January 31, 2017

Free Phones

We have two options for phone service.

(1) Google Voice. If you have a phone you can easily register for Google Voice and activate it using your phone. You don’t have to forward all calls to your phone. You can think of GV just as an answering machine. GV will keep working even when your phone is off or service suspended or you no longer have a phone at all. You can check your message over WiFi or at a computer and even make and receive calls over Wifi.  You’ll have a local 512 area code number.
You can register for GV using a computer or phone. You can get a free phone number at and then use that number to activate your GV. 
(2) Obama phone. You should be able to qualify for a lifeline phone (lots of people call them “Obama phones”) through Assurance Wireless. You can apply online at and wait for a period of time to receive the phone. 
OR you can go to Budget Mobile on 7th street east of I-35, take a food stamp award or other government benefit card and usually one can get a phone right then. An Obama phone offers 250 free minutes and 250 free texts per month. To stretch this out, active Google Voice with it right away!

  1. Budget Mobile
  2. Address: 1923 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702


  3. Monday 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
    Tuesday 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
    Wednesday 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
    Thursday 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
    Friday 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
    Saturday Closed
    Sunday Closed

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January 27, 2017

Being loved by Austin Christian Fellowship

Local ministries supported by Austin Christian Fellowship (ACF) were recently invited to a meeting. There were about 80 people in the room. I have been to local ministry meetings before, but never anything as awesome as this!

First, we worshiped together. Nothing feeds my soul better than a mid-week worship. If you see me and I’m down, invite me to a worship service. Always a pick-me-up!

​Next, Sr. Pastor Will (a pastor in the church… not the pastor of the church) gave us an inspirational message that resonated with, “Thank you!” He provided scriptures that reminded us we are called into God’s Holy purpose and that ACF is in partnership with us. He reminded us that we must not be in competition but be brothers and sisters alongside one another. And he reminded us that even though we are just being obedient to God’s call on our lives to live in daily ministry, God the Father honors us for doing so. It’s a crazy thing to think about.
Will did lay down a few challenges to us: Pray more; Build out faster; Give away even some of our money. Will said he’s never yet heard from God, “Hey, that’s enough praying. Stop that.” Good point. He also said that he’s discovered that when we focus on building outward, God focuses on building inward on us so we are able to do what we have planned outwards. Quite encouraging! And then Will said we should all consider tithing even with our donated funds. Finding someone to build into ourselves. Wow! We ask our staff to volunteer 1% of their time at another organization just to learn and give. I’ve been considering how we could donate to some other-country solution for the equivalent of our clients. But I never considered giving 10% away. What would that look like? How would God respond?

Then we had a really special gift. ACF loves local mission and nonprofits so much they have partnered with Mission Capital to create a non-profit training program for faith-based ministries. Once this program is out of pilot, ministries will no longer have to struggle with translating secular terms and best practices into church environments. And just to get things started, ACF has arranged to give each ministry they support $750 scholarship at Mission Capital for training in 2017! These are just super exciting things.

Finally, they put us at tables and asked us to network. SYM sat next to someone who might be able to find me a mentor (I’ve been looking for a while). SYM met a group who goes into juvenile detention centers and does prevention work. We’ve been toying with how to do this, but together I’m sure we’ll have a better solution. And we were at the table with a brand new free clinic. We no longer have a free clinic option for our clients so this was welcome news!

It was a fantastic way to love me. I so appreciate it. I repeated much of the content to my staff so they would feel loved. And I’m going to share it with church partners because I’ve never seen quite this approach. I think it was awesome! Way to go, God!

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January 27, 2017

Local ministry creating a home for homeless young adults

 Jay Wallis, KVUE 8:28 PM. CST January 25, 2017

AUSTIN ­ Mayor Steve Adler and many in the city of Austin have focused on getting the homeless off the streets and into housing. For many of the young adults in our area, this transition can be difficult to handle, which is why an outlet in Austin is providing something unique and vital for the homeless. 

Terry Cole is a native­born Texan and attended Texas A&M for electrical engineering. This was his career until 2008, when he was laid off from his job. 

“Along the way, I started becoming aware that I had interests in evangelism and mission work,” Cole said. 

While he held his different electrical engineering positions, Cole had done volunteer work with some of the churches he attended. In 2003, he started to devote some of his free to time to working with young adults who were homeless. 

“There were these homeless people who were young and kind of had no one to tell them the gospel story,” Cole said. 

So after losing his job, Cole decided to make his volunteer work his new career. He created Street Youth Ministry of Austin in 2008, an organization focused on giving homeless people between the ages of 18­30 a place to get what they need. 

“We are a faith­based ministry but more than that, we are faith active,” Cole said. “Not everything we do is in­your­face faith active. It’s all voluntary. We don’t make anybody do anything.”

Christopher Willemsen was born and raised in Austin, before finding himself in a difficult situation as he entered adulthood. 

“Around 18­years­old, I started couch­surfing and was homeless,” Willemsen said. “I had a bad background and winded up slipping out on the streets. I had to deal with the drugs or the alcohol every single day.” 

He is a much different person today, as he is not only involved with Street Youth Ministry but another local ministry ­­ LifeWorks ­­ as well. 

“In here, it’s real,” Willemsen said. “It’s almost like a reality check to where in some groups or meetings, you can’t open up the way that we open up here.” 

Street Youth Ministry is also much different than when it started. For the first eight years of its existence, this ministry bounced around from church to church, meeting at whatever location would take them. 

“We were like a pop­up ministry,” Cole said. “It was really hard for our clients to find us and it was a real nightmare to volunteer for us.” 

Marissa Bostick started working as an associate missionary for Street Youth Ministry around the time a change came for this ministry ­­ a permanent location. The Congregational Church of Austin has allowed Cole’s group to meet during the week in the church’s basement. 

“This is a safe place where anyone can come,” Bostick said. “There’s no obligations. We don’t have an agenda. We don’t want to force you to do anything. We just want them to come and say, ‘Hey, we’re all here together.'” 

When the homeless come throughout the week, Cole’s ministry provides many different types of outlets. While some days they will have a Bible study, other days are solely focused on giving people a place for conversation. The basement also has an area of used clothes, books and other items for anyone to take if they need it. There are also couches if someone needs to get some sleep while there is almost always food available in the kitchen. 

“Whatever you need, we’re just here to help,” Bostick said. “Obviously, if you’re trying to teach someone about God, they’re not going to be listening if they’re hungry. It’s about taking care of all their needs.” 

James Benson has been going to this ministry for about a year now, as he moved to Austin from Birmingham, Alabama to start a career in music. 

“I’ve been in music all of my life,” Benson said. “I write songs all the time.” 

While his career hasn’t sparked like he thought it would and he now finds himself to be homeless, he said this ministry has helped him focus on aspects of his life other than his career. 

“I can’t say that I’m the richest guy or the poorest guy, but I can actually say that throughout my day, I’m pretty comfortable,” Benson said. “I don’t care what I have in my pocket or where I slept the night before, I know God is going to keep a shelter and roof over my head and food in my belly.” 

Benson also said that the ability to keep making and writing music allows him to stay optimistic. 

“To understand that what I write down on that paper and how fluently it comes off my brain through that pen on that paper let me know this is a gift from God,” Benson said. 

Bil Taban grew up in Sudan, Africa before his parents sent him to America as a child 14 years ago. Bil has fallen on tough times and is homeless, but he still hopes to one day have a career. 

“I want to become a successful pilot,” Taban said. “I like space. I love space. Everything about galaxies and science.” 

With the city of Austin emphasizing re­housing the homeless, Cole said he wants to better prepare his members for when that time comes. 

“We have arguments or disagreements that break out, and we moderate those and encourage them to reach an end,” Cole said. “The problem so often turns out to be living with other people and getting along with roommates.” 

Benson at one point got in one of these arguments, causing a disruption during one of the classes. He was suspended for 30 days, but he was able to return. 

“I was allowed to come back because I was standing up for the right cause,” Benson said. “I’m definitely learning how I am needing to act.” 

“I’ve learned to have respect for others as I have had to learn and had to grasp throughout the years,” Willemsen said. “You can lift up your head. You can choose to be a part of this program. You can choose to come down to Bible study.” 

While Cole’s ministry has many churches supporting his group, he said he is in need of belts and shoes right now. To learn more about this ministry, you can visit (

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