Monday, June 3, 2013

June Update from Richmond!

Thank you so much for your continued prayer and support as we seek to serve the Lord and be obedient to His direction!

It has been a very interesting season over the last few months for us as a couple. God has been stirring in us our passions to be creative and to be intentional to develop and use the gifts that God has given us in ministry. This has led to some really cool things for us.

Monique is still teaching herself how to play the keyboard in effort to be more effective in leading and participating in worship and she has been progressing rapidly! It has been so life giving to overhear her practicing and singing beautiful songs to the Lord. She has also begun to write new music, in hopes to record some new songs in the near future.

(Available for pre-order on Amazon)
Toward the end of last year, I spent some time away with the Lord and realized that I hadn’t been the best steward of some of the tools the Lord had given me to use for His kingdom. This led to me being more open to the idea of speaking in different locations to serve the Church at large and the opportunities have come. I’ve been humbled to see God at work during these times and feel alive inside of the obedience to the call. Also, I had been interested in writing for some time and had never really pursued the opportunity to connect to this medium but the Lord opened the door for me to do it. On June 17th my first published work will be available! It is a bible study series called Converge and the book is called Sharing The Gospel. Praise the Lord!

God has been continuing to move mightily in the discipleship groups that Monique and I get to lead in Richmond. God’s word is taking root in women and men’s hearts and their love for the gospel continues to increase. It is so amazing to see hearts and minds that have been distant from God continue be transformed by His love and grace. We are growing in grace and learning more and more everyday.

Our Food Bank outreach is growing. We are now serving well over 100 households with free produce every two weeks. This is also opening the door for more children in the community to hear about our Awana program.

Families forming a line to receive free produce

Monique is finding great satisfaction in her job at Abolition International. She is working to build church & community partnerships across the nation in order to bring quality aftercare to survivors of Human Trafficking. She was recently given the opportunity to help develop an international prayer community to intercede for survivors as they embark on the journey to healing from the deep wounds of repeated trauma. She too has been exploring the joys of writing and currently provides the prayer community with bi-weekly devotionals on the power of prayer. (If you’d like to join the community, click here.)

Monique is also leading our church staff in receiving training for street outreach to effectively minister to the women and adolescents in our neighborhood who are bound by a life of prostitution. Please pray for us as we connect with those who so desperately need a way out.

The USA's average age of entry into sex trafficking is just 12-14. California harbors 3 of FBI's top 13 highest child sex trafficking areas in the nation. We're seeking God as we map out ministry strategies to help change lives.

We appreciate your intercession for us as we seek the Lord for direction and vision in life and ministry. We continually feel the affects of the prayer that you offer on our behalf and would love to be able to return the favor!


The Zackery's

Monday, February 18, 2013

February News from Richmond

It's has been a little while since our last update but it has certainly been a really full and challenging season.

Over the past few months, God has continued to exhibit His faithfulness in the midst of challenges and loss. Monique and I have always had what we would call an amazing marriage but the past few months have connected us at a deeper level than we would have ever thought possible. I love her tremendously and am excited to journey through life with her.

Date night in February

Last month we were able to return to Franklin, TN for 10 days that simply sped by too quickly. We were able to connect with friends that we consider family and serve Strong Tower Bible Church by sharing a few songs on their "Hip Hop Sunday". During the stay in Tennessee, we were able to experience some teaching and fellowship that invigorated our pursuit of God and instructed us in many areas that we had been itching to grow as it pertains to our faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. We returned to Northern California refreshed and ready to pursue whatever The Lord would set before us.

Hip Hop Sunday at Strong Tower Bible Church in Tennessee

Growth continues in Richmond and at Living Hope Neighborhood Church. Many new relationships are being forged with individuals and some decisions are being made to begin the pursuit of God. Monique was a part of a leadership team for an event called "Victory Weekend" put on for the women of Living Hope. Similar to the vision Monique has for the "Girl Talk" event she has led in the past, the hope was for women to experience freedom in Christ and to understand their spiritual identity. There was a great response and there is certainly excitement in the air as it pertains to women's ministry in Richmond. 

Victory Weekend Worship
Women responding to the Word

We recently partnered with an organization that brings a truck to our church parking lot and gives away free produce to homes that qualify. This has been a huge blessing to get some healthy food for some folks who have very little. It also connects us with our neighbors by meeting felt needs. Another way that God has provided for me to connect with people has been at coffee shops in and around the city. He has provided the venue for some really encouraging and challenging conversation with people that have been "burned by churches", "are more spiritual than anything" or "don't really believe in God" by their own admission. Please pray that God would continue to use these chats for His glory.

The new bi-weekly Food Bank produce give away at Living Hope

Please pray for Monique as she continues forward with her education at Williamson College in Franklin. She's doing an amazing job of staying dedicated to her work and I'm so proud of her amazing G.P.A. It's challenging for her to be diligent in her work while life and ministry continues to happen around her. I know that her desire is to serve others well and her workload is substantial.

We have both been awakened in our desires to be more intentional about being creative. Monique has begun to teach herself how to play piano and it is extremely impressive to see how far she's come in just a few months. I've been focusing on writing and trying to record some new songs, as well as, be open to however The Lord would want to use me in speaking and writing endeavors. We both understand that God has given us the passion to connect with others for the kingdom through these creative means and just want to be good stewards of them. We are both seeking The Lord for direction and vision on how He is calling us to use these areas of our lives. We are also praying for the resources necessary to accomplish what we feel has been set before us.

Thank you so much for your continued prayer and love for us! We would love to know how to pray for you, as well.

All our love,

The Zackery's

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Kissing the Wave

Earlier this year, Curtis and I came face to face with the fact that we live in a broken world. Yes, I know. It’s obvious. Some may say, “Monique, you just now realized that?” Of course I’ve known the world is broken, and we've witnessed its fractured state over the years. But in April of this year, that reality really hit home. We lost our first baby to miscarriage and unfortunately, we quickly learned how terribly common that type of loss is.

I wondered why pain has to reach deep into the hearts of all of humanity. It touches the strong and the weak, the great and the small. Yes, even those who lay down their life to serve Jesus. It's no respecter of persons; and yet when it comes to your door it feels so unfair.

Although we were devastated, we carried on in ministry, broken. Curtis remained strong, leaning on the Rock of our Salvation. But I can’t say the same for myself. I spiraled into crisis-of-faith mode and questions of “Why?” flooded my mind.

While we journeyed down the road to healing, the Lord slowly revealed His presence in the loneliest moments—the moments in which one is tempted to believe He has forgotten. And just as faithful as always, He revealed a healing truth:

You [God] keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” – Psalm 56:8

This passage is based on an ancient Roman custom. A friend would go to one in sorrow and wipe away the tears from their eyes with a piece of cloth. Then they would squeeze the tears into a small bottle of glass or earth, called lachrymatory, which was carefully preserved as a memorial of friendship and sorrow. (source: Barnes Notes on the Bible) 

The Father of compassion and God of all comfort does not forget us.

Because of this loss our senses have been heightened to the pain of those around us. Now when I see it, I wish to run towards the hurting and tell them about the One who knows, the One who remembers, the One who collects the tears—the One who heals.

This truth comes rushing forward on days like Saturday, when we received a voicemail that my young cousin was shot in the face due to [what seems to be] gang related violence. I quickly called my dad. The words hurried out of my mouth, “Is he alive?” Miraculously, he is alive, and even more miraculously, none of the contents of the shot gun cartridge penetrated through his skull.

He was shot in the eyes and had emergency surgery while my family prayed in the waiting room. We're not sure what will become of his sight. We are still holding on to hope and praying for a miracle. The potential loss of one's ability to see can be devastating. Yet, Saturday could have looked so differently.  I praise God for sparing us from losing another life, and allowing this one to live on.

My family stood by as another family was told that their loved one didn’t make it. Two were killed of gun shot wounds the same day. No, it’s not fair. The system is broken—destroyed; made into pieces from a whole—and yes, it does reach into the hearts of all of humanity. 

A custom necklace by Lisa Leonard Designs.
Includes "Haven" and "Ps. 56:8"
A daily reminder of hope, eternity
& the heart of our God.
In these real-life moments, when the rose-colored glasses are removed, revealing the true state of this fallen earth, we praise God that this is not all there is. There is hope for more… a Living Hope, in fact. 

After learning that “the godly often die before their time… [and] no one seems to understand that God is protecting them from evil to come” (Isaiah 57:1) we realized that our child was spared from the sorrows of this world. We named our baby Haven, which means “a place of safety, sanctuary; shelter” [a unisex name since we did not know the sex of the baby]. It’s a name that reminds us of Heaven, where some day we will be reunited in the perfect joy and uninterrupted peace that God ultimately desires for all of us.

God has been using little Haven to teach us so much, and this is deepening our understanding of the beauty of our Lord and His incredible plan of redemption. Even this tiny little life, that never knew the world, had a significant purpose to show mommy and daddy the hope of eternity.

We have entered into the sacred dance of joy and sorrow, the marriage of loss and hope, and we praise the Savior for holding our hand through it all.

“I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages” – C.H. Spurgeon

Here's to kissing the wave,

-Monique and Curtis Zackery

(As always, we thank you for your support and prayer in the ministry God has called us to. Please let us know how we can be praying for you too. Lots of love coming your way!- The Zackery's)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

News From Richmond

Hi Friends!

The month of September was very blessed for us. There are lots of exciting things happening. First, we launched our (new to us) children's ministry program, Awana. Second, we're finally getting to serve teens in our community. Third, we started a new sermon series. And last, but not least, we went on vacation! More on all this below. Read on...

First things first... the kids!

According to their website, Awana helps churches and parents work together to develop spiritually strong children and youth who faithfully follow Jesus Christ. Their programs offer a proven approach for evangelizing and discipling kids in the church and community. After a few weeks of leadership training, we finally opened our doors to weekly children's ministry with the Awana curriculum. (Yahoo!! This is an answer to prayer.)

Now, just a few weeks in, we are already witnessing the positive impact this program is having on the kids in our community. Our small children's ministry is quickly growing and it's blessing us a ton! Here's a video glimpse into what's happening around here...

(If you're having trouble viewing the video, click here)

We are SO grateful for your support. Your partnership has made it possible for us to be here and serve these kids. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! We pray that you are encouraged by the impact of God's presence here in Richmond. Please continue to pray for the spiritual growth of each little heart taking part in this program, and for our leaders.

Serving Richmond High

The pastoral team at our church has fostered a wonderful relationship with the football coach of Richmond High. After inquiring about how our church could serve their teens, team meals became a weekly gathering in our Fellowship Hall. Along with this, the pastors have been able to bring a word of encouragement from the Word for the boys at every meal! It's so cool. (Look at God opening doors to bring the gospel to the public school!) Here are some fun pics of the team eating, and the volunteers in the kitchen.

A New Series

One thing we love about the teaching at our church is that it's always gospel centered and Jesus focused. I (Monique) have been so encouraged by every series (and not just because my hubby is a pastor ;)). But this one has been especially helpful in offering insight regarding the heart of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. We'd like to invite you to join us online. You can download (for FREE) any of our sermons by clicking here.

Vacationing in Wyoming!

Lastly, we just returned from a restful vacation in Jackson Hole. Some family friends graciously offered us their guest house as a retreat, so curtis and I packed up the car and headed out. We were refreshed and able to seek God for continued direction in ministry. We're thankful for all that He is stirring in our hearts! Here are some fun pics of what we saw while we were away.

We witnessed three guys base jump from this bridge. CRAZY! This picture doesn't do the size of this bridge justice. They looked TINY as they fell from the top. 

Twin Falls. It was beautiful! 

Our friends let us try their four wheeler. We went for a ride on the dirt road next to their property. 

This stream was walking distance from where we stayed. It was a perfect place to pray. 
Chillin in front of the guest cottage. It was beautiful inside (like Pottery Barn meets the great outdoors), but I forgot to take pics. Sowwy :(.  

The view from the guest cottage. Gorgeous!

This was pretty much the back yard. AMAZING. Just makes you wanna worship God. The peace and quiet out there was heavenly! 

We arrived just in time to watch the leaves turn. 
Curtis and I got to feed the horses. We tried to act all cool about it but, let's be honest, they were big and we were scared. Haha. But it was cool nonetheless.

Well, that about sums it up. It was a great vacation, filled with rest, horses, special moments with God and precious friends. Now that we're all refreshed, we're ready to continue the work at hand.

Please let us know how we can be praying for you. Feel free to email us at or

Blessings beyond measure,

Monique and Curtis Zackery

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Celebrations, Travels, Outreaches and More...{August Recap From The Zackery's}

A message from CZ:

I hope all is well! Thanks for allowing us to catch you up on our lives. August was a really busy month for the Zackery's!

God has been showing us a lot as we continue to journey together in obedience and joy while following Him. On the 8th, I (Curtis) celebrated a birthday and continue to to be so thankful for the years that the Lord has blessed me with. 

Monique just concluded a 10 week Bible study (Believing God by Beth Moore) leading women from her family in Sacramento (and two friends from Tennessee). The 2 1/2 hour round trip was well worth it each week! Monique feels extremely fulfilled and knows that this aspect of ministry was a part of the call to California for this season.

I took two ministry trips in August, both to Texas. First, I was able to emcee and rap at a back to school event in Midland, Texas with Carlos (DJ Promote). Then, the following week I participated in an event called the Freedom Experience in Keller, Texas. This was a 3 day event that included speaking at school assemblies, emceeing and doing some hip hop. I'm extremely thankful for the opportunities that He has provided to minister.

August 25th was a great day of ministry and investment for Living Hope. We started out the day by hosting the recipients of the free glasses that were given out at the eye screening in July. It was a beautiful opportunity to celebrate with those that did not have the means to buy new glasses, but received them for free through the outreach. 

Then, later that afternoon we provided a carnival for kids in our community to celebrate the kick-off of our new children's outreach program, AWANA, which starts in the fall. It was great to see a ton of new faces and to facilitate a day of fun for our community.

Monique and I took a few days in August to have a "staycation"/rest time in Sacramento. During those few days, we were reminded in prayer and reflection that we must continue to be intentional to spend ourselves for the Kingdom. We also feel led to be more intentional about utilizing the creative gifts God has given us. We are both excited about discovering the ways that God will provide for us to do this.

Please continue to pray for the individual's in our church community. There are some very challenging situations that have presented themselves in the lives of some of our folks and we know that Jesus is the only remedy for true life change.

As always, thank you for your encouragement and support. We are blessed to have you in our lives. 


The Zackery's

P.S. Please visit the side bar of our blog to read our current prayer requests and praise reports.

P.P.S. Click here to listen to our latest sermon series on family.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Church Renovations & Neighborhood Transformations!

Greetings! We are so excited to have the opportunity to share with you all that God is doing in Richmond, CA.

Extreme Makeover, Gym Edition! {Before & After}

As we began to pray about intentional ways that the church could connect with the community, the leadership at Living Hope felt led to seek the Lord for ways to renovate our gym area. Specifically, we needed to improve the gym floor for safety for the children, to have the ability to play basketball, and to host outreach events.

Living Hope's Gym Floors {before}

After much prayer and through the sacrificial giving efforts of the church and anonymous donors, we were able to make the change! We have been so blessed to already see the impact of the change in our neighborhood. 

Living Hope's Gym Floor {After}

Extreme Makeover, Backyard Edition!

Our desire is for our home to be a place where people feel loved and have the opportunity to connect with Jesus and one another. We began to see how creating a space in our backyard would be a great step toward continuing to make this happen. Though we knew we didn’t have the finances to make this happen, we continued to ask the Lord to provide for this if He thought that this would be a wise decision for us. As a result of an unexpected financial blessing after a speaking engagement, we were able to invest in this dream. 

After about four weeks of hard work and the project management of Reggie Gillespie, we were able to achieve our goal. We are so thankful for the opportunity to invest in our neighborhood and this church-owned property in this way. 

D.I.Y. Backyard Progress Report {Top left: before; bottom right: after!}
Soon after its completion, we were able to host 16 teens and leaders for a time of reflection and s’mores! Please continue to pray that we can use this new space as a bridge to build community with our neighbors and teenagers in our area.

Youth bonfire... just one of the many gatherings already happening in the new backyard

Sight For Sore Eyes!

One of our biggest desires is to meet felt needs in our community. The lack of eye care in our area is one of those needs. We have encountered so many individuals in our neighborhood that desire to read and study the Bible but simply can’t see well. Also, we know that issues with our eyes can sometimes be indicators of greater health issues that we need to be aware of. 

As a result of a partnership with Christian Layman Church in Oakland, Living Hope was blessed with the opportunity to host a free eye screening for Richmond and the surrounding areas on July 16-19th. There were 466 individuals that were able to have their eyes screened and, if needed, they received FREE GLASSES. 

At the eye screening, prayer was offered for every individual who desired intercession.

This outreach was a huge success in meeting a tangible need in our community and providing our church the opportunity to connect with many individuals in our surrounding neighborhoods. In the two weeks following the event, we’ve seen an increased amount of interest in the church, and more importantly, the Jesus that would compel us to do a work like this!

Children of Richmond being served.

Monique getting her eyes examined 

Below is a slideshow of the event. You may not recognize it with all the sheet dividers, but the main screenings took place in our newly renovated gym. Look closely and you'll see that the blessing of new floors was put to use immediately. To God be all glory. 

Welcome To The Neighborhood!

The Lord is certainly doing a work in Richmond. We are fortunate to be a part of it and it is always exciting when He continues to confirm this work. The Lord has led 3 families to live in and serve the city of Richmond while attending Living Hope Neighborhood Church. A few weeks ago, Reggie and Kim Gillespie {who we introduced in July}, along with little Enoch, made the move across the country from Spring Hill, TN in faith believing that the Lord has called them west. Just this week, Brian and Ebony Lovely, with their children Canaan and Gabrielle made the same cross country move! 

The Lovely's
Lastly, Jeff and Soha Leach, with children Mya and Naomi, moved from San Ramon, CA to be a part of the Richmond community. 
The Leach Family
Last month's newsletter addressed a need for more leaders to help with the harvest and look what God has done already! We are all excited to see what the Lord is going to do in our community as a result of the faith steps of these wonderful friends and followers of Christ! 

Your Support Matters!

We are extremely grateful for the love and support that you provide for us as we continue to move forward in obedience in Richmond. Your prayer and encouragement has sustained us through times of trial and difficult circumstances. Your financial support has provided an opportunity for us to live and do the work of the ministry in Richmond. If you’d like to learn more about how you can support us through prayer or finances, please contact us (or click here)


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Welcome to Our New Blog!

Hi Everyone!

We’ve been living in California for almost a year now and there’s so much exciting news! In an effort to keep everyone in the loop with all that's happening in our family and ministry, we decided to start a blog together. We will be posting our monthly updates here. 

(Here's our "We're so excited you visited our new website that we're about to break out in song and dance" picture.)
First things first, thank you for your continued support through prayer and provision.  The Lord is at work in our midst and we are seeing beautiful stories unfold. The following are just a few…

First up, The Church Gym Renovation:

Well, it's no secret that our church building is a bit of a dinosaur. Thank God the Holy Spirit is at work regardless of the condition of our architecture. However, we are constantly running into to the challenges that come with an old facility. One of those challenges was our church gym. The floors were falling apart and lifting up in many areas. It was a total lawsuit waiting to happen. In spite of the obstacles at hand, we have been dreaming BIG about opening the gym regularly for youth outreach events. 

Of course our biggest obstacle has been the financial need. So we prayed. And God answered!! 100% of the amount needed to renovate the gym came in, and we got started right away! Volunteers gathered to tear up the old floors, and paint the walls to give the gym a little D.I.Y. love. The new floors have arrived and we hope to have them installed sometime this week.

More on that to come. But in the meantime, here's a quick glimpse of the progress (with commentary by Pastor Dave):

(If you cannot see the video above, click here)

Secondly, Discipleship Groups:

Our church’s vision and mission is to Make Disciples of Jesus Christ. In an effort to be about what we talk about, we recently launched a new small group model with Francis Chan and David Platt's  Multiply Movement. (Visit for more information.) This new curriculum has been so wonderful. Our small groups consist of 6-8 people each. We meet in homes and gather around the table to discuss what it means to follow Jesus, grow in our understanding of the word, and spread the Gospel to all nations (starting in our own backyard).

(Francis Chan in a session video for Multiply Movement)
True to its name, the Multiply Movement has already been spreading around our church and more people desire to join small groups. At this time, we don’t have enough leaders to facilitate all the people who want to join. Now that’s a GREAT problem to have! We're discussing the possibility of having some of the current leaders facilitate multiple small groups while we train up new leaders to take over in the future. But it’s all good! People are hungry for growth and change in their lives and in our city. It’s beautiful.

Third, A New Job for Monique:

Another exciting tidbit of information is that I just got a new job with Abolition International! I will be working as a public advocate and church partnership coordinator for the organization. It’s part time, which is perfect for me in this season, and it’s something I’m passionate about.

Abolition International works to end human trafficking and stop the exploitation of women and children around the world. Not only do we raise awareness, we have partnered with international safe houses to help in the healing process. We have an accreditation program, which helps  these homes to keep the highest standards of quality for former victims, restoring hope and rebuilding dreams. You can learn more about this organization by visiting Also, follow us on twitter at

Lastly, God is Calling Out More Missionaries!

We are so excited to announce that our good friends Reggie and Kim Gillespie, along with their precious-little-model-of-a-baby, Enoch, have been called to join us in ministry here. It has been incredible to watch them walk in faith, believing God for every provision as they obey Him. God has equipped them with amazing gifts that will be vital to our work at Living Hope Neighborhood church. Woohoo!!   

Whew! That was a lot of updates! And trust us when we say there are more to come! Feel free to subscribe to this family/ministry blog if you wish.

P.S. To view our July prayer requests and praise reports, please visit the right hand column of our blog. Thanks for joining us in prayer!  

Until next time, 

The Zackery's