Monday, August 30, 2010

Awana Clubs Give Kids Chance To Be Well-balanced Men And Women

When Rob and Abril Walshe’s 3-year-old son Baruch was invited to be part of Awana, they hadn’t heard much about the church sponsoring it. They knew Cypress Church was close by and that it was a Christian church, but that was about it. The woman who invited them, someone Abril met in a local park, encouraged Abril to give it a try. She practically guaranteed Baruch would love it even though he was on the shy side. Weeks went by and with a little more encouragement from her new friend, Abril knew sending Baruch to a place where he could make new friends and learn about God would be a good thing.

Three years later, Baruch is excited about starting his third year of Awana. He embraced the program from the first night, enjoying the time spent with his friends and Small Group Leader. *It was the first place we could leave him by himself and he wouldn’t cry,* Abril says.

More than 12,000 U.S. churches have Awana programs and they can be found in all 50 states. Cypress Church’s Awana will be starting up again on Wednesday, September 15th at 6:45 p.m. and will meet on a weekly basis through June. Children from Cypress, Buena Park and neighboring cities 3 years old through 2nd grade are welcome. As a chapter of Awana Clubs International, its goal is to build children into men and women who are well-balanced spiritually, mentally, physically and socially.

Awana *Cubbies* club for preschoolers is built on the premise that very young children can and should receive spiritual training. Games, puppets, crafts, awards and other activities transform this preschool program into a lively experience where fun and learning go hand in hand. *Sparks* club meeting (for children Kindergarten through 2nd grade) combine learning with fun to create an atmosphere of excitement for kids. The children enjoy Bible teaching, worship, award presentations and games.

For children who are in 3rd through 6th grade, Cypress Church offers a program called *Amazing Journeys* (a separate curriculum from Awana). This year, teaching and equipping children to spend time in God’s Word will be the focus. The Amazing Journeys program consists of four parts: game time, small group time, big group time and Bible reading (homework).

Mike Haugland, Director of Children’s Ministry at Cypress Church, has seen many kids come through the Awana and Amazing Journeys, children from all sorts of backgrounds. He believes whether or not children come from a Christian family, they gain benefits from being part of the programs. *Children will be in a positive environment where they can feel safe to ask questions about life, God and their purpose for being here,* says Mike.

Abril agrees, since there were still questions the Walshe family had about if and where they would worship even before Baruch started in Awana. Though Abril was a Christian, Rob was not. But they believe Awana has helped Baruch learn universal values like respect, kindness, integrity and responsibility. *We saw changes right away,* says Abril, who was surprised when after just a couple of weeks, Baruch had a new sense of gratefulness and asked the rest of his family to pray with him before they ate. *He has learned values that should exist in every religion.* Between wanting to support Baruch’s newly gained knowledge and a desire to learn more themselves, Rob and Abril started attending on Sundays at Cypress Church. They joined a small group Bible Study and this past December, Rob was baptized. *Awana ushered us into a community,* says Abril, whose younger son Jeshua will begin his first full year of Awana in September.

Each group of six children is placed with a Small Group Leader (girls with a female leader, boys with a male leader). Each Christian leader is interviewed and background checked. While leaders are trained in the material and aim to be positive role models in the children’s lives, their primary goal is to work with the parents to help in both discipleship and training of the children. *We do not replace mom and dad,* says Haugland, *but partner with them.*

For more information, please contact Children’s Ministry Director Mike Haugland at (714) 952-3001, ext 217 or email him at: For a downloadable application visit: Cypress Church is located at 6143 Ball Road. Sunday school and Worship are at 8:45 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Caption: A member of *Sparks* having fun with a Small Group Leader at last year’s Awana Pie Throwing Night.

Cypress Church - 6143 Ball Rd. - Cypress, CA 90630 - Phone: (714) 952-3001 -

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lively Luau Entertainment Captivates Cypress Seniors

The Cypress Senior Center held their annual Luau on Friday, August 13, 2010. More than 200 attended the event which was sponsored by AssistaLife Home Care. The gala celebration included entertainment by ukulele and guitar players from Cypress Church. The musical group included J. P. Del Mundo, Matthew Chai and Mike Chai. There were also three hula dancers who performed many traditional Polynesian routines including the Rope Dance.

The Luau event was planned and coordinated by the staff of the Cypress Senior Center. The Cypress Church Community Service Team assisted with decorations, serving and clearing. Guests were treated to an exotic menu that included Teriyaki chicken, Hawaiian rice, chef cut veggies and tropical fruit salad. Unique suckers with cake on the inside provided an unexpected treat. Many special gifts were awarded to event participants during the door prize drawing.

The Cypress Senior Center is located at 9031 Grindlay Street and provides many activities and services for area residents. The next special event is the Country Hoedown planned for Friday, September 10th. Recreation Coordinator Teena Tomlinson reports that the Hoe Down is already 50% sold out. Information about activities for seniors is available at (714) 229-2005. Information about AssistaLife non-medical home care for those with special needs is available from Jeannie Gann at (310) 337-7095.

Cypress Church serves the northern Orange County area including the cities of Cypress, Buena Park, Los Alamitos, Anaheim, Seal Beach and La Palma. Volunteers are available to assist local non-profit organizations. The church campus is located at 6143 Ball Road just east of Valley View. Sunday worship is at 8:45 am and 10:30 am. More information is available at (714) 952-3001 or on the internet at

Photo Caption #1: Musicians Matthew Chai, Mike Chai and J. P. Del Mundo from Cypress Church entertained guests at the Cypress Senior Center Luau held on Friday, August 13th.

Photo Caption #2: Cypress Church members (Left to Right) Duane Walker, Dot Slagle, Janice Doe, Clayton Slagle, Mary Beth Walker, Victoria Jereza and Norman Edds served meals at the annual Luau Celebration held at the Cypress Senior Center.

Cypress Church - 6143 Ball Rd. - Cypress, CA 90630 - Phone: (714) 952-3001 -

Cypress Church Youth Return From Sierra Adventure

During the second week of August teens and youth from the Cypress, Los Alamitos and Buena Park areas spent six days in the Sierras at Hume Lake Christian Camps. These camps have been providing life changing programs for Christian students and families for 64 years. This summer more than 100 youth, teens and adult counselors from Cypress Church participated in the camp program.

The summer theme for 2010 at Hume Lake is “Excusez-Mwa!?...” The program addresses the "me-centered culture" of today's youth by challenging students to understand that, as Christians, they were bought with a price by the death of Christ and the life they live belongs to Him. Each person is called daily to selflessly submit to Christ and excuse themselves out of the way so that God gets the glory for life’s accomplishments.

Camp activities during the week of August 8th through 14th included competitive sporting events, swimming, tug-of war, obstacle courses, Frisbee toss, bicycle riding and more. There were times for spiritual reflection and mental refreshment in the beautiful pine forest. Students also engaged in group singing, Bible study and worship.

This annual summer camp program is just one part of a wide range of activities for youth and teens offered by Cypress Church throughout the year. The Awana and Amazing Journeys clubs for kids will begin meeting in September. Beach days, field trips and missions opportunities are also offered as well as weekly High School and Junior High group get togethers.

Information about these activities is available from Student Ministry leader Danny Kugelberg or Children’s Ministry leader Mike Haugland at (714) 952-3001. The Cypress Church campus is located at 6143 Ball Road just east of Valley View. Sunday Bible study, Sunday School and worship services are at 8:45 and 10:30 a.m. The church website is located at: or discover more on the church Facebook page.

Cypress Church - 6143 Ball Rd. - Cypress, CA 90630 - Phone: (714) 952-3001 -

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Eating, Praying, and (definitely) Loving in India

In Julia Roberts' latest movie, *Eat, Pray, Love,* her character, Liz Gilbert, discovers the power of prayer while visiting India, and learns to eat well and love in two other countries. For a group of Southern California residents who recently visited India themselves, all three necessities of life were experienced there. They did eat (though their diet was limited), they definitely prayed (though to a different God than most Indian residents believe in), but most of all they loved.

The recipients of that love were a group of 34 orphan children. They are a few of the fortunate ones who have a place to call home after losing their parents and being left for destitute. They are part part of Jane's House, a non-profit organization that aims to help care for some of the millions of orphans in India. In early July, the group of seven (most of whom are from Cypress and attend Cypress Church) left LAX and took a 30-hour trip to a village in Southeast India where Jane's House cares for orphan youth of all ages. There, they met and connected with the children and the five widows who care for them.

According to UNICEF, there are an estimated 25 million orphans in India. By comparison, there are about 2.5 million in America. AIDS, poverty, famine, natural disasters and a caste system are some of the primary reasons why India has the heartbreaking distinction of being at the top of the list of countries with the highest number of orphans. Girls especially are hit hard because of the belief that dowries will place an unbearable financial burden on thier parents.

Jane and Tony Rodriguez started Jane's House in 2004, just a few years after Tony returned to the U.S. from a short-term mission trip to India where he witnessed this plight of the country's orphans. With the help of several Christian Indian pastors and others they befriended who worked at local railroad stations, Jane's House opened its doors and took in the first of the orphans they encountered. Many of them had been abandoned by their parents and had no other alternative but to live on the streets.

“It is a common occurrence to see children at a bus or train station who have fallen asleep alongside their parents only to wake up alone and abandoned,” says Tony Rodriguez, a former Pastor to Students at Cypress Church. “Each child has a heartbreaking story when they arrive. After we find them - or they find us - they receive a full medical check-up, three meals a day, new clothes and an education that help them to reach their fullest academic potential.”

Since Jane's House began, Jane and Tony have seen three girls finish their schooling, one becoming a nurse and returning to her native village where she was celebrated. Two others recently graduated from a design school and are seeking employment. All of what Jane's House does is funded through donations. About four times a year, they are visited from various church groups that are on short-term mission trips. Like the Cypress Church team, these groups bring gifts for the children, visit with them and try to provide a joyful atmosphere; most of all, they bring the message of God's love and let them know that they are not forgotten.

*The orphans seem to have a blast when the Americans come,* says Jo Anne, a Cypress Church member and one of the seven team members who visited. *They love to play soccer, cricket, throw frisbees and balls. They sing for us, we sing for them.* Occasionally, they will explain how they came to live at Jane's House: *Some of them share their stories of being left in the train station or parents dying,* says Jo Anne. *We share our stories of how Jesus fills our lives.*

In addition to spending time at Jane's House, the group also ventured into nearby villages and leper colonies. They brought rice and household materials and shared their faith with these villagers who are amongst, as Joanne says, *the poorest of the poor in our world.* Most of the people they encountered were Hindu, believing in many gods and reincarnation. They also met Muslims and a few Christians.

*These truly outcast people embrace the news of Jesus the Savior and love to welcome the visiting teams,* says Jo Anne. *People gather and bring out plastic chairs for us to sit in. They often ask for prayer, even if they are wearing Hindu thread bracelets or did not accept Christ.* To prepare for the trip, the group spent parts of five months meeting and learning about the Indian culture. For Jo Anne, who had been on three prior mission trips to India, watching her first-time teammates react to the culture was a highlight of the trip. *They came to love India,* she says. *I was touched by the way they embraced the differences and the passion in their hearts to see souls saved,* she says.

The Cypress Church campus is located at 6143 Ball Road just east of Valley View. The public is welcome at Sunday services and Bible studies that are held at 8:45 and 10:30 a.m. as well as many other activities throughout each week. Information about the church is available at (714) 952-3001 or online at The public may also interact with the Cypress Church community on Facebook, Twitter and Livestream.

Photo #1 Caption: A group of children and adults from a leper colony greeted the team from Cypress Church with a song.

Photo #2 Caption: A young girl from an Indian village is presented with a beaded bracelet by a college student and member of Cypress Church's short term mission team.

Photo #3 Caption: Three of the girls who live at *Jane's House,*an orphanage in India run by former Orange County residents Tony and Jane Rodriguez.

Cypress Church - 6143 Ball Rd. - Cypress, CA 90630 - Phone: (714) 952-3001 - - Email: