earthen vessels, East Africa, and the gospel
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Posts from — September 2011

Catching up on September Meetings

We’re finished with this month’s meetings and now gearing up to leave this weekend for Wisconsin and Minnesota. Let me bring you up to speed.

First Baptist Church of Troy, MI

I presented our ministry at First Baptist Church in Troy, MI, on September 11. We felt very much at home with the people there since they support several other Grace Baptist Mission missionaries in addition to one of our own teammates. So, this ministry is familiar to them. It encouraged us to meet another group of people eager to see this work advance. After the service we caught up with a few friends preparing to serve the Lord on the mission field. We were blessed to have the time for fellowship with people who share a desire to see the gospel advance in dark places.

Wisconsin Pastor’s Fellowship

We joined the Wisconsin Fellowship of Baptist Churches for their annual meeting on September 19 and 20. The meeting gave us the opportunity to be introduced to some pastors and catch up with a few we’ve already met. On the way to Wisconsin, we joined Lena Baptist Church for their Sunday worship services. They were the first church to have us present the ministry and the first to partner with us. It was good to revisit them as partners and continue building relationships with believers there.

Community Baptist Church, Woodhaven / Brownstown, MI

Community Baptist Church invited us to join them for their worship service on September 25 and present our ministry in their Discovering God hour. We felt like we were given a very warm welcome, but I’m sure this is not an exception for this church. My favorite part of the meeting was the Q & A session. Maybe this is because the rest of the presentation is more predictable for me. At any rate, I am fascinated by each church’s particular choice of questions. On this Sunday I appreciated that someone asked me what God has been teaching me through our experiences in pre-field ministry.

September 28, 2011   No Comments

Talking to Kids about Missions

What should kids know about missions? When I’ve had the opportunity to speak to children, I’ve compared life here in the States with Tanzania. We talk about food, school, and playing with friends. Clearly, some things are similar; some are different. This much is the same everywhere: kids need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ and believe in him for the forgiveness of their sins. I take the opportunity to point out to the young audience that many kids in Tanzania don’t have as many people near to them who could give them the gospel or tell them a story from the Bible. We tell them that this is why missionaries go to places like Africa.

We consider it a special privilege that the first gift designated for our support came from the kids in Inter-City Baptist Church’s AWANA program. We were their missionaries of the month this past March. Late in July, we shared our ministry with the adults at Vandercook Baptist Church in Jackson, MI. They recently invited us back to speak in their AWANA meeting. These interactions with children were quite memorable. We fielded a number of questions about mud huts and animals, but it’s encouraging to hear several kids thinking specifically about Jesus and the cross. One kid asked how we would give the gospel to Tanzanians. Another, looking up at the cross in the church’s auditorium, asked, “Did Jesus die on that cross?”!

September 24, 2011   No Comments

Thanksgiving List for Pre-Field Ministry Travel

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are a few things we are thankful for after a few months on the road:

10. GasBuddy.com. According to Gas Buddy, avoid buying gas in Illinois if at all possible.
9. Our friends at Heritage Car Care and The Lube Cube. These are the ones responsible for extending the life of our car.
8. Tic Tacs. Self-explanatory.

7. Dunn Bros. Coffee (and a few other coffee shops). Coffee shops are good for internet access and the occasionally necessary caffeine-boost. Dunn Bros. serves something they call Chocolate Steamed Nirvana. Wow. On a related note, Laura would also want me to mention Jamba Juice.
6. Audio books and sermon recordings. These are excellent ways to pass many miles.
5. Chipotle and Noodles & Co., our favorite places for lunch.
4. E-Z Pass/I-Pass (electronic toll collection device). It may be a precursor to the mark of the Beast, but it has saved us hours of travel time.

3. GPS. Try going from place to place for the first time in the dark without it.
2. An occasional Sunday at our home church. Being away for long periods of time makes us appreciate all the more the opportunity to catch up with our friends and worship the Lord with the saints at our sending church.
1. Our hosts who have provided a place to crash and served us with food, fellowship, and time to rest between meetings.

September 11, 2011   No Comments

September 2011 Prayer Update

It is encouraging to hear from people that they are praying for us. Thank you for ministering to us in this way. Here is an update on praises and prayer requests related to our pre-field ministry.

Praises:
  1. Inter-City Baptist Church has extended my missions internship through October. This means that my full-time employment status and medical insurance benefits continue through October–a significant financial help.
  2. Our pre-field ministry train continues to chug along. We currently have commitments which make up 45% of our budgeted amount. That still puts us ahead of my original schedule and continues to rebuke my little faith.
Prayer Requests:
  1. Please pray for our co-worker, Dan Eads, as he teaches his first complete round of Bible Institute classes on September 5-23. Dan will be teaching “Acts and Pauline Epistles,” “General Epistles,” and “The Life of a Pastor and His Ministry.” Let’s pray that this will be a very productive time for the students’ learning and spiritual development and that God’s grace will sustain Dan through the long hours of preaching in Swahili.
  2. Our travel schedule begins to pick up again as job responsibilities continue. I’m anticipating that September and October will be full of ministry opportunities and work that should be finished before November. Please pray that I will be able to prioritize well and that God will make my labors productive.
  3. We plan to make the shift to full-time deputation in November. Since we are not yet receiving 50% of our support, our financial situation will be stretched for a time. Please pray for wisdom to manage the changes that this requires. There will be budget and health insurance changes just to name a couple.
  4. Please continue praying that we would be introduced to churches with like-minded commitments to missions. May God continue to show us that he is able to exceed my expectations!

September 6, 2011   No Comments