earthen vessels, East Africa, and the gospel
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Posts from — May 2012

Memorial Day Weekend in Cincinnati

The three of us traveled to Cincinnati on Memorial Day Weekend to meet with a few churches we have been in contact with for about a year. We joined the Strassner family (from Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church) for lunch on Saturday and met the elders of Providence Bible Fellowship in West Chester that evening. I presented our ministry in their morning worship services on Sunday morning. We quickly realized that there are an unusually high number of people at this church interested or involved in the spread of the gospel over-seas. Many have visited missionaries or have family members serving as missionaries. This means that our short visit was packed with rich conversations! That evening we joined Bible Chapel of Delhi Hills for their church cook out. We met pastor Landis on an earlier visit to the area. This time, we were able to meet and discuss ministry with all but one of the other elders.

Our first out-of-state road trip with Ian went very well, although it wasn’t without challenges. This trip has confirmed that I cannot compete for attention with my own son (but how could I be disappointed in this?). Overall, it was a hot and busy weekend. We returned home emotionally exhausted from all that was packed in to the trip. In retrospect, however, it is so encouraging to be introduced to churches who are genuinely like-minded in our desire to advance the gospel.

May 30, 2012   No Comments

Where We Left Off

We’ll be joining the thousands of Americans who will be making road trips this Memorial Day Weekend. This will be our first trip out-of-state for the three of us. Adventure surely awaits!

Our church meetings have already picked up where we left off for a multi-week break beginning the end of April. On Mother’s Day we had the privilege of sharing our ministry with Maranatha Baptist Church in Clarkston, MI. Maranatha is actively focused on sending out some of its own members to the mission field. Since we were with them on a day which is unusually difficult to schedule missionary presentations, all of the fellow missionary appointees were there to fellowship and critique my presentation. It was a great experience.

On the weekend of May 20, Matt made a solo trip to update our friends at Lena Baptist Church and present our ministry with Faith Baptist Church in Beloit, WI. This was my third visit to Lena since our pre-field ministry began. I am glad to see our relationship with them grow over the these visits. While it was my first time to Faith Baptist Church, their gracious and encouraging hospitality has me looking for opportunities to return.

On Monday the 21st, I was able to attend the Conference on the Church for God’s Glory in Rockford, IL. My recent attendance at pastors’ conferences has been primarily for the purpose of networking with the pastors. I honestly doubt the effectiveness of attending such conferences in this regard. Pastors don’t come to recruit missionaries, after all; they come for preaching and fellowship (then again, perhaps this merely reflects on my poor salesmanship!). However, I am glad to say that this conference was profitable to me in that way–that I was challenged by the preaching and refreshed by the fellowship.

May 25, 2012   No Comments

How to Help Tumaini Children’s Home

Beth, Ferdinand, and Happyness with kids

I haven’t said much here about Tumaini, the orphanage associated with our team’s ministry. Since Beth, the American co-director of Tumaini, is currently in the States updating many of our church partners and inviting them to help in a new project, it would be a good time to provide some of the same information here. We’ve coordinated Beth’s visit with the beginning of a new campaign for donated items. I’ve already mentioned that we will be shipping a container with these donations and a few of our things this summer; there is still time to help if anyone is interested.

The highest priority for this campaign is to collect the clothing the children will use over the next five years. Other items on the wish list include school supplies, first aid supplies, and toys. We are trying to make the giving process as smooth and efficient as possible, but it is also important for everyone to understand the particular needs and the long process involved with getting everything from here to there. If you would like to help–great! Please see Beth’s instructions and the list of needs she has provided at the Tumaini web blog here.

May 14, 2012   No Comments

May 2012 Prayer Update

Our one-way tickets to Africa have been purchased. We are now less than 19 weeks away from our departure. Thank you for being a part of God’s blessings in our life through your prayers. You may use the following praises and prayer requests to continue guiding your prayers for us.

Praises:
  1. We were able to complete a few excellent church meetings in April before breaking for the birth of our son. God provided the means for Laura to participate in meetings at the beginning of April and kept everyone safe in travel. We are also thankful that Ian waited to be born until after I returned home from the last out-of-state meeting.
  2. Our son, Ian, was born healthy. Laura is also doing very well. These things are great gifts from God–certainly the answer to many prayers.
  3. God continues to meet our needs in some unexpected ways: a garage sale, help from church friends, and anonymous gifts. We are overwhelmed by the generosity of God’s people and the kindness of God towards us especially in the past few months.
Requests:
  1. In God’s providence, we are finishing our pre-field ministry ahead of schedule. While I don’t expect us to be supported at 100% of our budget by then, we are already supported at a sufficient level to begin our first term. That being said, we are still eager to fill the gap in our prayer and financial support. Please pray that God will bless our remaining meetings and that, as a result, we will find the best gospel partners for us.
  2. Please pray that we continue to lean on God as we adjust to being a family of 3 and resume our church meetings.
  3. We are focused on preparing for departure. Our most earnest prayer request in this regard is that God would use these remaining months to prepare us spiritually for serving him in Tanzania. Pray that all of the logistical work is completed so that it doesn’t become a distraction to more important matters.

May 4, 2012   No Comments