“I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High”
One of the Psalms I read this morning. I love the Psalms and read them daily. I am frequently reminded by the psalmist how much of our walks with the Lord is simply just a choice. In the psalm above he states his choice to praise the Lord, “I will praise you, O Lord.” He tells us how he chooses to praise the Lord, with his “whole heart.” He also declares how he is going to carry out his choice, by “telling of all [the Lord’s] marvelous works.” He says, within his heart, he chooses to “to be glad and rejoice” in the Lord, while outwardly, he chooses to “sing praise” to the Lord.
I need to be reminded that much of my walk with the Lord, how I express myself to the Lord, and how I go about life, is a choice that I need to make on a daily basis. Lord you are worthy of all my praise!
South Asia was more than I could have imagined. We had 10 flights where we traveled just shy of 22,500 miles in 18 days. We visited each of the three Bible Colleges campus we had started. One in the north, in the foothills of the Himalayas, one in the south, our main campus, and one in the central area, where there is open hostility towards Christians.
We met with the local team at each campus and discussed the upcoming school years and the two year curriculum that we developed and were going to go forward with. We also discussed vision and direction for the colleges and ministry to reach unreached people groups.
We also held two Pastor’s Conferences where we had some 80 pastors come out to be taught, refreshed, strengthened and encouraged in the Word. That alone would have made the trip a success, but there was so much more.
We met with pastors who wanted to come under the umbrella of Calvary Chapel and learn to teach the Bible inductively, verse by verse, chapter by chapter. So, the Sunday after the second conference, we held a typical Calvary Chapel Sunday morning service. Pastor Asher, one of the pastors traveling with us, taught through chapter 1 of 1 Samuel. Talk about powerful! That Sunday morning was some of the most powerful teaching I have ever had the privilege to hear. There was no hype or emotionalism, what these pastors were used to, just simply teaching God’s word and seeing the Spirit bring it to life. It was wonderful!
We also visited some of the remote churches pastored by some of our recent graduates from our previous Pastor’s School. What a blessing that was. To see people living so remotely, so simply, with very little, never having heard about Jesus before was something I have never witnessed. Then seeing God do a work in those villages, raising up a church, where Christ is being preached, was truly humbling.
When I returned, I was very busy with work, we also traveled to Oregon where I got to officiate my aunt’s funeral. Afterwards, when I returned to California I began working on scheduling Calvary Chapel pastors to teach the new 16 week semester which started in July. Due to short noticed I taught two classes until two of the pastors would be available to teach. The first was the Book of James on Tuesdays, which was a 5 week class. The second, on Wednesdays, was an overview of the entire Bible. That was a 6 week class. Each started at 8 PM Pacific Coast Time and went until 11 PM. It was a tough 6 weeks since I wake up for work at 4 AM.
The really great news is, this semester we welcomed women to be part of the program. At our central campus, where we teach via Skype, we were given a piece of property that we made into a women’s dorm. We have 17 students, 6 of which are women. The students are studying through the Bible with translated Chuck tapes. This semester, the other classes include the books of Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, the Gospel of John, Inductive Bible Study, Systematic Theology, and Practical Christian Ministry. Our other two campuses are also following this teaching schedule.
When we left South Asia God gave us vision for construction of 8 new churches buildings, to buy some means of transposition for some of the pastors who did not have a motorcycle, to expand the Central Campus class room, to rent a larger property in the north, and to purchase beds, tables, chairs and supplies for the schools. We thought all of that would be about $140,000. That’s not to mention support for the missionaries or the $25 a day to feed and house each of the students. It was a crazy, we could never do it apart from God, thought. Just last month God provided, out of no where, approximately $125,000. All Glory to God!
Would you please pray?
- Pray the Lord would continue to bless the work in South Asia.
- Pray that we would have wisdom and insight as leaders to what the Lord is wanting to do and accomplish. Pray that we would then be able to facilitate that work.
Would you please continue to pray for our family?
- Pray for Tina and I as we would love to be closer to Ashley and Elijah. We want to be able to have the impact the Lord desires grand parents to have on their grandchildren.
- We are longing to have fellowship and be part of a church. We live over an hour one way to my current place of employment and an hour in the other direction to church. As a result we are unable to be at men’s and women’s Bible studies or serve in the church the way we would like to. We feel a little isolated with out a close church family near by to fellowship with. we miss what we had in Corvallis and Europe.
Would you please pray for Bryan and Austin?
- They are hoping to see the Lord open doors for them. They are attending school but would also like to get jobs. The job market here is nearly if not totally non-existent. They also are feeling isolated with out friends and family close by.
As always, we are so thankful for your friendship, your willingness to pray and your love for us and our family. I’m so sorry that it has taken me so long to write an update. Pray for me and I’ll try harder in the coming months.
Gary and Tina
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Just wanted to give you a little more information about our trip to South Asia. IT’S JUST AROUND THE CORNER! I mean, it’s coming soon and it seems to be picking up speed.
There will be eight of us going, four pastors, two really cool young men with a radical heart for the Lord, and two of the sweetest, godly, on fire women that I know. It’s a blessing to be part of this group. I think God has great things in store for us during the three weeks in June we are away.
The purpose of the trip has many aspects.
- We will be doing two Pastors’ Conferences. The theme is “Shepherds After God’s Heart” taken from Acts 20:17-38. They will be two day conferences, five teachings a day, with translation. We are expecting between 35 and 70 pastors from all over South Asia to attend. Some of the pastors will be traveling for 30-40 hours by train just to get there.
- Our heart is to pour into these guys who are serving the Lord in very remote locations among people, who many, if not all of them, have never even heard the name of Jesus. We’re going to meet with these pastors, eat with them, minister to them, encourage them in the faith and have Q&A panels where they can ask questions about whatever is on their hearts. IT WILL BE GREAT!
- We will be having a Ribbon Cutting and Open House at one of the new Bible Colleges to kick off it’s Grand Opening. This will include a BBQ and community outreach with soccer games and the like.
- We’re going to travel to some of the remote locations and meet and minster to some of the pastors and see where they are serving.
- We are going to meet with the pastors at the Bible Colleges and Pastors’ Colleges and hammer out the final details of the upcoming school year, talk about curriculum, and encourage the staff.
- We want to be a blessing to these wonderful men and women who are serving on the front lines. Serving in hostile regions of the world, risking serious persecution. We want to love on them in the name Jesus and bless them, be there for them and send them off encouraged and strengthened to continue the work and press forward for the Kingdom, taking new ground, seeing people saved.
Please pray for us, pray for the conferences, pray for traveling mercies and protection from sickness and the schemes of the Devil to cause division among the team.
Please pray for our finances also. I have only been able to raise about one third of the cost for the trip. Tina and I are trusting God to provide, but the trip is right around the corner and coming fast. I still need to raise about $2000 by the end of the month.
I also wanted to share with you how the classes went that I taught. Over the last two semesters I taught through the Gospel of John and the Book of Daniel. They drank it up. And not just my teachings, but the teachings each of the other pastors gave. We had American pastors teaching five days a week, in the morning their time. That was followed by our in country staff teaching five days a week in the afternoons.
It’s really cool, in that, in an area of the world that is becoming increasingly difficult for us to travel to, I sat at my desk, opened my computer, got out my Bible and a few other books and notes, and Skyped them.
This is what I saw on the other end.
And this is what it looked like from their side.
It’s amazing to realize that nothing can chain the Word of God! No Government, no false religion, nothing! Nations can try to ban the spread of God’s Word, satan can try to keep it from people, but “…the Word of God is not chained” (2 Tim 2:9). We’ll just Skype in if we have to!
Thirdly, and finally, I wanted to share with you about our new grandson. Tina and I are smitten! He’s so cute! Of course, we think he is the cutest baby ever! Good job Ashley and Elijah!
He’s now just seven weeks old. And he’s a happy baby. Tina was there for the birth and stayed up in the Seattle area with Ashley to help her and Elijah adjust. I got to go up there a few weeks ago and meet him.
I got to tell you, I’m a BABY WHISPERER. When he’s not doing so well, when he’s a little gassy or he’s having a hard time, just give him to me and he’ll be out in no time. Maybe he’s heard my teaching before? Maybe that’s it, I’m just boring?
It was so hard to leave them. But what a blessing to our family. Little Noah Knepper.
So please pray.
- Pray for the trip
- Pray for the pastors
- Pray for the conference
- Pray for our health
- Pray for the funds I need for the trip
- Pray about being a financial partner with me for this trip
- Pray for our family while I am gone
- Pray for God’s blessing and covering on little Noah
As always, I am so thankful for your support, prayers, friendship and love. I thank God that we have friends and family like you. God bless you. I look forward to telling you all the wonderful things God is going to do.
Gary and Tina Barrow
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There has been so much that has happened since my last update.
As you may have known, Ashley and Elijah, our daughter and son-in-law, have been expecting their first child. While talking with my sister, Sharalynn, Tina mentioned that Ashley was a little disappointed that she was not going to be able to have a baby shower. They do not live close to any family or any of their close friends. So, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that she would miss out on that happy event in a new mother’s life when preparing for a new addition to their family.
Well, my sister had the idea of organizing a traveling caravan baby shower. Tina and my sister began planning and contacted friends and family. March 8th, Tina’s mom and sister, from Ohio, family and friends from California, Oregon and Washington drove to Washington. We all met at Elijah’s work on March 10th and transformed a teaching center into “Baby Shower Central.” Ashley was blown away. She had no idea. I think it took her about 10 to 15 minutes to realize what was going on.
The love poured out on her by the 12 women who attended, bringing gifts and the Lord’s blessings, along with many others who sent gifts, since they were unable to attend, was amazing. Thank you one and all.
The day after the baby shower, I got to celebrate my birthday with Ashley and Elijah, Tina, her mom and sister, along with my mom and sister. It too was a blessing. The weather in Seattle was amazing, close to 70 degrees and clear blue skies.
Ashley was due to deliver March 19. On or about March 12th, during a routine doctor’s visit, it was discovered that Ashley’s blood pressure was a little high. They decided that the right course of action was to have her return every two days so they could monitor it. When she returned her blood pressure as still a little high. They were concerned but thought to just continue to monitor her. When Ashley and Tina returned to the doctor’s office on March 19, her blood pressure was still a little too high, so they decided to keep her at the hospital. Long story short, Ashley’s water broke at 3 AM on the 20th. They were very concerned for her and the baby since her blood pressure was up and down between 160 to high 170’s over high 90’s. At 7:04 PM Ashley delivered Noah Khatter Knepper, 7 lbs 4 oz, 20.5 inches.
Tina stayed in Washington to help Ashley and Elijah adjust. To show them “tricks of the trade” as it were. I will fly up there the last week of April, spend time with Noah and bring Tina home the first week of May. I can’t wait to see that little guy and get my wife back. We miss her so much.
Meanwhile, back home, I continue to teach the Bible, via Skype, Tuesday nights with the Pastor’s College in South Asia. We finished the Gospel of John and started the Book of Daniel. This group of guys are so hungry for the word, they’re just drinking in every study. The class has decreased in numbers recently due to a constant, overwhelming pressure from their families for them to leave their small villages and to move to a bigger city, get a job driving a taxi and then send money home to support the family. Please pray for the guys who remain.
I wanted to make a correction too. In my last update, I stated that as a western missionary “I could never actually go to this area of the world.” Well, I mis-spoke. We have two Pastor’s Colleges and one Bible College that has been established there. We are able to go visit each of them, but in one area, I would not be allowed to teach. That would cause problems. But we can visit and be an encouragement.
And that brings me to the next bit of news. Pastor Trent, of Calvary Chapel Saving Grace, has asked me to accompany him and a team going to South Asia to visit the schools. It would also help me in getting familiar with the country. So, in faith, I have applied for a visa to travel to South Asia. The trip is planned for early to mid June and will cost about $3000. It’s money we don’t have, but we’re trusting the Lord to provide it.
One last thing, if you’re in the Orange County/Southern California area on May 5th, I’d like to invite you to the Saving Grace World Missions, 2018 Annual Missions Banquet. I was able to attend one of the past banquets when we still lived in Europe, and it was amazing. There will be good food and great speakers. There will also be a raffle for a Apple MacBook Air, along with a few other things raffled off and a few prizes. All of this is to raise funds for missions and to connect with people who are missions minded and would like to get involved in the Great Commission. If you’re interested you can get further information and register at http://sgwm.com/blog/news/sgwm-2018-missions-banquet/. I hope to see you there.
So in closing, please pray for us.
- Pray for Ashley, Elijah and Noah. Pray that God would gift them with knowledge, skills and abilities to raise Noah up in the Lord. Pray that God would use that little life, and like his namesake, stand strong for the Lord even while others are going about their business as if God doesn’t exists.
- Pray for Tina’s time in Washington with Ashley, Elijah and Noah. Pray that it would be sweet and a blessing for them all.
- Pray for traveling mercies when I go to Washington and for when Tina and I return back home.
- Continue to pray for the Pastor Colleges and for the students. Pray that God would continue to reveal His heart to us in equipping these men for the work of the ministry among unreached people groups.
- Pray that God would supply the $3000 for my trip. Pray that we would have the Lord’s heart for the region and the people. Pray for vision, anointing and wisdom for us as we go to South Asia. And please pray for Divine appointments and God’s favor. If you would like to donate to this trip you can click here to “Become A Financial Partner.”
As always, we are so thankful for your prayers and support in the ministry. If there is anything we can be praying for you for, please let me know.
Gary and Tina
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