Monday, June 29, 2015

Hoosier State, Here We Come!

Sunday we will load up our church van and head to Fort Wayne, Indiana for a week-long mission trip.  I'm super excited and surprisingly anxious as well.

We'll be meeting with two sister churches to join forces in conducting VBSs, canvassing neighborhoods, completing construction needs, and assisting a new church plant in the area.  For all but one of our youth, this will be their first out-of-Missouri mission trip.  So exciting!

Pray for our kiddos:  Alyssa, Brooklyn, Jacey, Kenneth, and Zane.  Pray for:

  • Physical Safety and Energy
  • Good Attitudes and Cooperative Spirits
  • Spiritual Growth - B and Z are not believers, so pray specifically for the Lord to draw them to Him.

Pray for me as I'll be leading them solo.  Pray for:

  • Safe travels as I drive our church van.
  • Physical safety and energy.
  • Patience with the youth
  • Spiritual Growth
  • Trust in the Lord - James is staying home to care for Hudson (he's just too little to go) and to minister at our local county fair that's the same week.  While in my head I know James is a good daddy, I'm finding my heart anxious over leaving Hudson.  I know it's a control issue, but it's making me stress out.
Pray for James.  Pray for:
  • Patience and energy in parenting Hudson solo that week. Pray that it will be a sweet time of memories made together.
  • Energy as he works in the Baptist Hospitality House at the county fair.
  • Opportunities to share the gospel while fair employees and guests.

Pray for Hudson.  Pray for:
  • No separation anxiety from me.
  • Obedience to James.

Pray for the churches in Fort Wayne, IN.  Pray for:
  • Receptive hearts to receive the blessing of our service.
  • Patience with us as I'm sure we'll be in mission-trip mode.
  • Encouragement - that our presence will be an encouragement to them as they minister in their community.

Thank you, friends for your prayer support. I look forward to letting you know in about 10 days, how the Lord chose to answer our prayers.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Ministry Update - Spring 2015

Ah, spring!  Back when I lived in the south and winter was just maybe one snow day a year, I said winter was my favorite season.  Now after 2 years in the midwest, spring has taken top spot in my heart.  After a long, cold, snowy season everything seems to burst to life - trees, flowers, grass.  Birds are singing, bees are buzzing, farmers are plowing and planting - it's fabulous and I love it!

The big event for March was the associational On Mission Celebration.  We had missionaries coming and staying with all the churches of our area and we joined together to have services the full weekend - Saturday, two on Sunday and Monday.  For James and I, having missions degrees, it was amazing to be around like-minded people.  It definitely helped re-encourage us in our ministry and desire for the nations.

Good Friday, April 4th I took our youth and two tag-a-longs (the girlfriend and girlfriend's sister of our boy youth) to the Matthew West concert.  Such a fun time!

Easter Sunday was a bit chilly and windy, but a lovely day to celebrate our Lord's resurrection.

The evening of April 12th, we had a Southern Gospel concert at church.  The New Life Singers came and led in worship for about an hour.  Then we ate ice cream afterwards.  We had a great turnout, close to 70!  Our local nursing home brought a van full of patients to attend and several from sister churches who don't have evening services joined as well.  Fun was had by all.

May 7th, I had the privilege of leading in prayer at our local National Day of Prayer service at the courthouse.  I was asked to focus my prayer on the lost.  There were 75 in attendance which was such a blessing to see and each prayer was so worshipful and honoring to our Lord Jesus.

May 10th we recognized all women in general for Mother's Day.  We also recognized our one high school graduate.  She is headed to the western end of the state to study nursing.  We're very proud of her.

May 17th was James' and my 7th wedding anniversary - crazy!  We also celebrated with sweet L as she was obedient in believer's baptism.  She prayed to commit her life to Christ three weeks earlier in Sunday School.

The evening of May 31st, we showed the Franklin Graham movie Louie Zamperini: Captured by Grace.  If you've read the book or watched the movie Unbroken you know about Louie's life has an Olympic track star, WWII veteran, and POW survivor.  But the Franklin Graham movie tells the story in Louie's own words of how the Lord stepped in to rescue him from alcoholism, anger, and despair after he returned home from war.  If you'd like to watch it, it's also available online here.

We have a super busy summer coming up: Camp (just finished this past week), VBS, Mission Trip, Faith Day at the St. Louis Cardinals, State Fair Evangelism, and continued outreach and ministry in our community.


* Remember last update, when I asked you all to pray specifically for 2 families to join our church? We've had no less than four separate couples begin attending pretty faithfully.  They've not made any professions of faith yet, but we're ministering to them and praying for them.  God is definitely faithful and answers prayers in ways we never imagined!

* Liza's baptism.  James was able to lead several to faith and obedience in baptism back in 2013, but 2014 was a dry year.  Liza's profession of faith and following baptism has been such an encouragement to us in the ministry and obviously, the best thing to ever happen to her! God is good to give the gift of faith!

Prayer Requests

* Those who have newly begun attending with us: The B family, the S family, B & J, and E & R.  Pray that the Lord will continue to pursue them and soften their hearts to the gospel.

* The S family and the L family.  In the past six months, we've had two fellow-pastors in our area to be asked to resign.  Neither has been for theological or sin issues, but personality differences and misunderstandings. This has been hard on me, in particular, as I'm close to both of the wives.  It hurts and tempts you to be angry at the church.  It's been a good reminder that the church is full of wretched people.  Wretched people that Jesus loves and died for, including me!  Pray for healing in these churches and guidance/comfort for these families, especially their young children.

* Camp!  Camp is the first week in June.  I'm leading in Missions and Crafts.  We're taking 7 kids!  Of those seven, three are completely unchurched so I'm excitedly anticipating God doing a good work in their hearts during this week.  Pray for our campers: K, J, K, L, Z, K, and B.

* Mission Trip!  We'll be tagging along with our Kentucky church to Fort Wayne, Indiana for mission trip the first week of July.  Pray for the high schoolers we're taking: K, J, and A.  K, specifically, has mentioned feeling the Lord leading him to being called to missions - so please pray for his heart while on this trip.