Saturday Stroll

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*The following article contains some controversial language used by those depicted in the story. It was a beautiful Saturday morning, and a rare one at that as at 7:30am all of my kids were still asleep.  Having been up for some time to read, pray, and be with the Lord, I headed out the…(Read More)

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So, it’s never been more obvious that I can do nothing apart from Christ.  I can’t get out of bed well without His abiding presence.  I can’t even do a good job speaking with someone, unless Christ indwells my everything.  This time as an intern has simultaneously refined my character and fanned…(Read More)

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Jesus said, “You have heard it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes the sun to rise on the evil…(Read More)

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*The following blog is written by Kaylee Thompson.  Kaylee strives to make the gospel known and disciple young people in the South Side of Billings as part of our youth program we refer to as Youth Works. This winter to spring has absolutely flown by in my world.  Drew, a fellow Youth Works staff member…(Read More)

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Kingdom Ethics

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On a regular basis I am confronted with the question:  Is Jesus truly worth following?  I don’t mean the Jesus that our culture propagates, but rather, the Jesus of the Bible.  He Himself calls us to consider the cost, for the way of following Him is one of laying down our lives…loving Him…(Read More)

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I’ve lived in Billings my entire life, and I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve grown up with, and maintained, a pretty negative view of the South Side. “Don’t go there.” “Don’t hang out there.” “Don’t hang out with people who hang out there.” “And, by all means, don’t…(Read More)

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Family

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During the Christmas holidays, my intern Rachel and I took the residents of the Hannah House to look at lights at the zoo.  We ventured out in the party wagon, over snow piled roads, all singing enthusiastically to the Christmas carols playing.  At one point, we were stopped with a volunteer outside our window.  Our…(Read More)

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Mar-toos

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In recent weeks I have been blessed by a study of the book of Acts.  Two truths in particular have stood out to me: Jesus’ affirmation that we will be His witnesses, and second, the power that exists with the name of Jesus.  Prior to ascending to heaven after His sin-conquering resurrection, Jesus instructed…(Read More)

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A Christmas Message

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One of the most read passages during the holiday season is Luke’s account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth.  He writes to provide Theophilus, an influential leader of his time, a historical account on the person of Jesus.  In the first chapter, Zacharias, a righteous priest, was told by an angel while serving…(Read More)

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Redeemed

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*The following is written by a friend and sister-in-Christ, Mandy.  A few weeks back I (Eric) had the privilege of sitting with her on the front porch of the Hannah House as she shared her story of transformation with me.  Though I had not initially remembered, I had met Mandy several years back…(Read More)

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On a regular basis, CLDI evaluates the needs that remain in our community that are within the scope of our mission to make Jesus known as we seek the welfare of our friends and neighbors of the South Side.  A few of the needs we have identified are: more housing and relational opportunities for women…(Read More)

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Gospel Intentionality

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For those of us in Christian circles, when you think of the word ministry, what comes to mind?  If you had to describe what ministry was, or who was responsible for such activity, what would you say?  According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, ministry is defined as “the office, duties, or work of a religious…(Read More)

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Community Leadership & Development, Inc. (CLDI) seeks to foster transformation and redevelopment in the South Side, Billings’ oldest and most marginalized neighborhood.  As part of this effort, our CLDI staff have invested in this community as residents of the South Side to love God, love our neighbors, and raise our families. For the past seven…(Read More)

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A Taste of Kindness

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*The following is written by a former intern who spent a significant portion of her time with Hannah House Ministries. I intentionally played Jesus music whenever I picked her up.  Once I even started singing under my breath the words to “Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone” as she told me about her soulmate Death…(Read More)

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Meet Jim and Patty

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In seeking to encourage transformation of the South Side and its residents, the works of CLDI are targeted toward community revitalization, outreach, and discipleship.  In regard to community revitalization, CLDI is committed to seek the shalom of our city, and in particular, the South Side.  Shalom is a Hebrew word meaning wholeness, completeness, wellness, and…(Read More)

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This is the ‘home’ of an individual outside of a building we are hoping to buy. As part of this vision, CLDI will provide (10) efficiency apartments and (2) one bedroom apartments to serve the most marginalized of our city; office space for CLDI; expansion of Hannah House Ministries (our ministry to women in crisis…(Read More)

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  *The following is a letter presented by a friend and sister in Christ to her local school district in response to the school board’s decision to cancel a presentation led by Shelly Donahue, a nationally recognized speaker and follower of Jesus.  School leaders cancelled the presentation because her message was about abstinence and some…(Read More)

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Worth the Risk

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*The following blog is written by a dear friend, sister in Christ, and former CLDI intern/staff as she and her husband prepare to take the Gospel to Central Asia.  The following were her reflections on a recent visit to Billings.  What she has so beautifully communicated is as relevant to the South Side as…(Read More)

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Fluency can be explained as the ability to express oneself easily and articulately.  I have long been envious of my friends who have grown up speaking two languages since childhood.  They can move smoothly between conversing with parents in one language and carrying on another conversation in a completely different one.  I have had my…(Read More)

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Recently I was taking our CLDI interns through a book written by author Bob Lupton.  By all accounts, Bob is a well-respected Christian community developer guru that has lived and worked for decades in the poorest communities of Atlanta, GA.  In his book, Toxic Charity, he shares a story about a group of young…(Read More)

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Nepal Exposure Trip

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As part of the Fellowship House, our intern program to recruit and encourage kingdom-minded, eternally focused disciples of Jesus Christ, we lead the interns on an international trip to the 10/40 Windowto expose them to God’s heart for the nations.  This past February we partnered with a gospel-oriented organization doing long…(Read More)

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If, Then

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Recently I read through the book of Leviticus as Moses was instructed by the Lord as to how the people of God were to pursue holiness and so remain in relationship with Him.  Every time I read through the Old Testament I am amazed by the abundant patience, grace, and mercy the Lord extends to…(Read More)

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A Change of Attitude

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I was talking recently with one of the gals I have worked with for over a year through CLDI’s Hannah House Ministries.  As I listened to her share what she was struggling with the thought came to my mind that she had two options for moving forward: she could change her circumstances…(Read More)

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As we enter into a season of advent, we celebrate the arrival of the promised Messiah.  700 years prior to the birth of Jesus, Isaiah prophesied the coming of One who would bring justice, hope, and love:“Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will…(Read More)

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*The following is written by a current CLDI/Fellowship House intern, Sarah Beth. Having graduated from Covenant College this past spring, Sarah Beth joined us in September to participate in a nine-month internship to: live in the community we serve, work alongside CLDI to assist in development and our women’s ministry, devote time…(Read More)

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Why Billings?

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Recently I gave my new interns the assignment to write an essay about how they ended up in Billings.  One intern, though a Montana native, never intended to move to Billings from Lewistown, let alone quit his well-paying job to commit himself to the work of the Lord in the South Side as part…(Read More)

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*The following is a written reflection of 1 & 2 Timothy by Claire Papp, a CLDI summer intern.God has moved me many ways through this exercise of reading and meditating upon His word, many of which may not be revealed until later.  What kept surfacing in my mind was the depth of God…(Read More)

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*The following blog is written by a sophomore University of Missouri college student, Clair, that interned with CLDI this summer.  I am incredibly grateful for young people like Claire who are committed to living lives of knowing and following the person of Jesus Christ.  As she made a impact this summer in the…(Read More)

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Bits and Pieces

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*The following blog is written by a dear friend and sister, Miriam.  Last fall the Lord graced CLDI with Miriam to shed the Light of Christ as she diligently works in our office and interfaces with the many different people that call or visit the CLDI office on a daily basis.  I greatly…(Read More)

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Many leadership experts say that a leader should remind their people of the ministry’s mission no less than every 30 days.  I can’t say that I always do that with my staff, however, on a personal level I do think of this often.  To be quite honest, given the broad nature…(Read More)

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Lessons Learned

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*Gus is a recent graduate of our nine-month internship program, the Fellowship House.  The following is a reflection of what the South Side, the community in which we reside and work, taught him.  Currently Gus is working for the summer at an inner-city home repair camp (SOS) and will be attending…(Read More)

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As part of our work in the South Side, CLDI hosts college-age interns through a 9-month program called the Fellowship House.  The Fellowship House seeks to recruit and encourage kingdom-minded, eternally focused disciples of Jesus Christ.  Throughout the year, interns reside as neighbors in the South Side to love God…(Read More)

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Community

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Living in the neighborhood has given me a strong sense of community that has been lacking from my life.  Growing up in a Hutterite colony brought me face to face with community on a daily basis, a sense of belonging that was firm regardless of whether everyday life was filled with peace or tension…(Read More)

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There are a number of perks that come with being an intern for CLDI, such as: living in Christian community, experience working with people in several different capacities, reading lots of excellent books, frequent dinners with some of the coolest people around, learning more and more about what it means to follow Jesus, and continually…(Read More)

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It is a Thursday afternoon as I write this letter… this is my first ‘break’ in the day from the stream of constant meetings that I seem to have.  However, this last meeting came to me as a great and wonderful surprise.  Taking a call in between meetings at 11:30, I was…(Read More)

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Currently I am part of a one-year leadership cohort through the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology for an on-going discussion on ways to embrace a parishmindset in ministering to communities like the South Side.  A parishis a geographically defined place, big enough to live life, yet, small enough to be known…(Read More)

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My Community

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*The following is a reflection from one of our interns, Gus.  As part of the internship, Gus lives in the community in effort to love God and love others and works directly with Youth Works, our work to reach at-risk youth with the gospel.  Whether he is volunteering at Orchard Elementary or…(Read More)

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Lostness

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I (Eric) recently attended a couple of meetings involving faith leaders, business owners, politicians, City Council members, and city workers as we discussed ways in which to meet the needs of the ‘chronically poor’ in our city, as well as ways to encourage growth, vitality, and flourishing of downtown Billings.  For the most part…(Read More)

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Leaving Good Things

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*The following blog was written by a dear sister, friend, neighbor, and co-laborer – Brit.  As the chapter of the South Side, Billings Fellowship, and CLDI comes to a close, a new chapter begins.  We have been blessed to have the Malloch family as part of the fold.  We praise the Lord…(Read More)

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Seeing Jesus

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If you haven’t ever read the Gospel of Mark, it is an action-packed study and portrayal of the major events of Jesus’ life.  Before you even reach the end of chapter 1, Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in the life and ministry of John the Baptist; Jesus is baptized in the Jordan…(Read More)

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*Hope Education Network, otherwise referred to as HEN, is a work focused on serving  teens and young women in crisis as part of CLDI’s effort to seek the shalom of our community.  It has been awhile since I have last posted on my blog. Life has served up personal heartaches and yet…(Read More)

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At the turn of the New Year, we set out to spend several months to reflect upon the challenges we face today as it relates to womanhood, fatherhood, family, and motherhood (special thanks to our friends who contributed!).  Though our world is under great conflict, we who are in Christ are to be a…(Read More)

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My husband and I had our first child earlier than we had anticipated. I realize now that I was completely unprepared for this change in my life. Physically, we had everything for the new baby: beautiful nursery, an abundance of clothes, all the right Dr. Seuss books, so we were set, right? While we may…(Read More)

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Family is one of the greatest gifts we may ever receive in this life. The dictionary defines it as:  ‘a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not.’Family is a complex thing and yet it is also so simple. We may all see…(Read More)

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“He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse” (Malachi 4:6).Here we see a clear indication of the blessing of God upon His nation: Fathers who care for and…(Read More)

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I was another girl born into the middle of a heap of sisters. As I grew older, I worked hard to create an identity that was distinct from the collective name people used to refer to my sisters or me:  “the Will girls”. That started a lifelong quest for independence and worth that was…(Read More)

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I sat with a man in my office that I recently began meeting with to discuss the ‘gospel’, the Bible, and what it means to follow the person of Jesus.  To begin our time I asked a simple question – What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?  I didn’t ask…(Read More)

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Amazingly, it’s the beginning of a New Year, 2014.  It seems that with each passing day, week, month, and year, the old adage, going to hell in a handbasket, rings with an ever-increasing element of truth.  Thinking back to my grandparents, a civil and right society was one of proper dress…(Read More)

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 What is so important about coffee cards and cupcakes?  Angie* is.  A little background information: Angie was referred to me by my good friends Fred and Joan Nelson over a year ago.  She is 22 years old, has a three year old daughter and is a single mom.  The father…(Read More)

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The Father’s Love

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“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” – Jesus, John 10:10Seven years ago I experienced the joy of becoming a father to our son Elijah and this blessing upon my wife and me only increased as we now have three additional children – Ellie, Kai and Aida.  Over these past seven…(Read More)

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