Calvary Chapel Truckee

As you know, we moved to Northern California to take the senior (only) pastor position at Calvary Chapel Truckee.

We actually moved to Verdi Nevada. as close as you can get to Truckee and not be in California. It’s about a 20 minute drive along the Truckee river, on I 80, to get to the church.

So I wanted to give you a quick update and share some really exciting news with you.

You may have heard me say this before, but it is true, this is the first time I have taken over the leadership position of a church during a world wide pandemic. So that means there have been a lot of challenges, things I have never faced before. But we’re meeting the challenges head on and getting through them one by one.

GOD IS SO GOOD!

He is able to do, and has been doing, exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we could think or ask for.

When we took over the church, April 1 officially, I was unable to meet anyone in the church for over 3 months due to the pandemic.

After much prayer, about 3 months ago, the Parks and Recreation Department agreed to allow us to meet in one of the parks. We started out with maybe 40 people, yet by the end of September we were averaging roughly 70 people on a Sunday.

The Parks and Rec Department warned us that the last weekend of September the they would be closing the restroom facilities to prepare for the winter. That means there would be no restrooms for us to use. So we had to make a decision.

Again, after very much prayer, we decided to start meeting in our little facility. I had talked to other pastors who had been meeting in person, listened to what Jack Hibbs and John MacAurther were doing, and announced that we would move indoors. We didn’t want to do anything irresponsible or foolish, but felt strongly we needed to provide church and fellowship for our body.

Out little facility, at The Rock, allows for 30-35 people to be fairly socially distant with another 20 people spread out a little more in an over flow room. With roughly 50 people, who feel comfortable to meet together on Sunday, we still have 50 people tuning in watching our livestream on YouTube.

Finally, and this is really exciting to me, we have just launched our new website, http://www.cctruckee.com. We launched the site to get it out there, while at the same time we are continuing to add content. I hope you’ll take a look at it and let us know what you think.

So things are moving along. We’re very blessed to be part of this body and are looking forward, with great anticipation, to see what God is going to do.

BTW — Tina will be leaving for Washington soon as Ashley, our daughter, is due to deliver our second grandson. Florian August Knepper.

We’re super excited to see Flo and see him grow in his relationship with Jesus. It’s really cute to see how excited Noah is to meet his little brother and share his toys with him.

Please keep us in your prayers. We thank God that we have friends and family who are willing to stand with us in prayer, for the ministry the Lord has entrusted to us.

**Please pray for the church, that God would give us wisdom and protection as we have begun to meet in person. **Pray that God would bless the teaching of His word and people would be growing in Christ. **Pray God would bring people who need to hear the gospel and be saved. **Pray for an uneventful birth of our grandson too. We welcome and thank you for all your pryers.

As always, we desire to hear from you, how you are doing and how we can be praying for you? Please pray about visiting. We’d love to see you when you’re up in this area.

God bless,

Gary and Tina


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How Long Has It Been?

I confess it has been a long time since my last update. Please forgive me for not writing sooner.

God has been doing so much and the enemy is not happy.

We were able to find a house in Verdi Nevada, about 20 miles form the church office. We are renting a little house right across the street from the Truckee river. We actually can’t afford to live in Truckee. Since the Covid pandemic, many people from San Francisco, knowing now they can work for home, are escaping the big city and buying up all the properties in Truckee. The house costs have skyrocketed. a 1000 sq ft A-frame fixer upper with no garage will run $550,000.

The Truckee river next to our house.

I have to confess, this is the first time I have ever taken over a church during a world wide pandemic. I didn’t really know what to expect. I thought when we got up here to Truckee we would have some time to get the lay of the land, to wade in the water a little to get the feel of things before we were thrown into the thick of it. That actually wasn’t the case. I feel like I asked my dad if I could go swimming and he has thrown me into the deep end.

Because of the virus we had no place to meet, I wasn’t able to meet any of the people in the church for many months, so we just found a location and began to stream our studies.

Preaching from Donner Lake

We have had the privilege of meeting outside in one of the parks in town for the past month and a half, and it has been glorious. You can watch the teachings on line if you like. Just go to YouTube and search for our channel, Calvary Chapel Truckee. Our Sunday morning teachings are there as well as our Thursday mid-week.

When we got here, the first thing I started was what we called an “Underground Prayer Meeting.” I called it that for two reasons. One because California said we couldn’t meet with more than 10 people at a time. It was intended to be a playful reminder that we take our marching orders from the Lord not the governor of California. We have tried to take every precautions we could and not expose anyone needlessly to a potential risk. We asked people who felt sick to stay home. For anyone who felt well, showed no signs of symptoms, and were comfortable meeting and praying together, they were invited. The second reason I called it “Underground Prayer” was to be a gentle reminder of our brothers and sisters around the world who are meeting in secret for fear of their governments.

When the Covid virus hit, before we took over the church officially, the interim pastor scrambled to find a place where we could eventually meet. He found a 2500 sq ft space for us at a complex called “The Rock.” The space gives us room for a sanctuary with about 8o seats in it and a small space for children’s ministry. The interim pastor also bought several small, 17.5 inch wide, chairs. During one of the meetings I had with the leadership, I mentioned the change in the weather that was coming that would force us out of the park. I mentioned my concern about the small space and the small chairs. Someone mentioned that the interim pastor said, “When the new pastor comes, there will be a natural downsizing of the church and it will be plenty large enough then.” I am very happy to report that God has been blessing and we have not decreased in size as a church, but we have been growing.

We have been praying and seeking the Lord about starting a Food Pantry. Surprisingly enough, there are many people living in this area of affluence who are in great need. God opened a door for us to partner with a church in Reno and coming this month, we hope to be supplying food to people and families in need. It’s very exciting to be able to engage in a work like this. It has been something that has been on my heart for the last few years.

June 22-July 1 2020, we are partnering with Calvary Chapel Saving Grace and taking our youth on a “Youth Apologetic Tour of Israel.” The basic vision is, we send our kids to school and they learn history. We send our kids to Sunday School and they learn Bible stories, as if they were not history. We are going to take our youth to Israel and immerse them in the facts, the truth and the historicity of the Bible. The target age group is 16-25, however kids younger than 16 can go with a parent. As of the date of this update, we have 15 kids and parents going on the trip.

Due to the Covid, we have had to change what we are doing in South Asia. We have been unable to have classes the way we have had in the past. One of our colleges has been able to continue to meet, because they have just a handful of students. Our other colleges are recording teachings in the local languages and the students are able to listen to them during the day. We are all praying for the day when we can get back to raising up young men and women who are committed to taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to place who have never heard of the truth of God’s love. To people in places, who since the beginning of time, have been in bondage to false gods. Please continue to pray.

Finally, Tina and I are happy to report that the Lord has opened a door for us to buy a house. We have never owned a house before. The Lord has never allowed it, we assumed it was because we were always on the move. But now it look like the Lord is going to have us stick around for now. It is going to be finished next April. It is also in Verdi Nevada, just a stones throw from where we are living now. I can’t tell you how happy Tina is. Thank you Lord.

Prayer requests.

  • Please pray for Calvary Chapel Truckee. For continued growth, that we would be a light to the community, that the Lord would show us how to reach out to the community, for all the ministries (Women’s ministry, Men’s ministry, Young adults ministry, Youth ministry, Food pantry and the Underground Prayer.)
  • Pray the Lord would bless the teaching of His word on Sunday’s and Thursday. That He would continue to draw people deeper into His word and in their walks with Him.
  • Please pray for the work in South Asia, that God would continue to use us mightily. Please pray that I will be able to return soon to connect with the students. Pray that the Lord would keep those on the ground safe from anti-Christian groups seeking to persecute our workers. Pray that we would be able to resume our face to face classes and resume our internet teachings soon.

Please, please pray about visiting us. We’re so excited to show you what God is doing here in Truckee.

God bless you,

Gary and Tina


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New News!

I have been wanting to write to share some big news. We recently have had an unexpected answer to prayer. I have been asking everyone I know to be praying that God would open a door and allow us to return to full time ministry and missions.

Long story short, we are going to be moving to Truckee, California. If you have never heard of Truckee, it is a few miles west of Lake Tahoe. I was asked to take over as the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Truckee. 

Downtown Truckee, CA

The founding pastor has retired and the interim pastor, from Poimen Ministries, asked if I would be interested in talking to him about taking over the church. He told me that they were also talking to others. I thought, “Sure, why not? What could it hurt?” I actually didn’t think anything would come of it. He asked me to send him a few pastoral references, some recorded teachings, and a resume. After he received them, we talked and emailed back and forth. About a month later, he asked Tina and me to drive up and spend an extending weekend with them and share Sunday morning. So, we drove up. I shared February 9 on Revelation 4, “Our Future Home” and afterward we met with the elders, the board, and their wives. They interviewed us for about 3 hours and we returned home. 

Quite honestly, we were really amazed by the church. The people were so loving and friendly. We felt as if we had known them all for a long time. 

Interestingly enough, the Saturday before I was to teach, pastor Trent from Saving Grace World Missions and Calvary Chapel Saving Grace texted me from the Middle East and asked if I was teaching in Truckee Sunday. I said yes and asked him how he knew. He told me a missionary from Truckee, serving in Belize, asked if he knew me. Pastor Trent went on to tell me that the church was looking for a pastor and I should tell them I was available.

Days after we returned home, I received an email offering me the position. We were very excited, but we still prayed. We didn’t want to have to walk away from the work in South Asia. We were concerned that Saving Grace World Missions would think that it would be too much for us to do both. 

When we shared the news with pastor Trent, he was so encouraging. He was excited that now, since I would no longer be working for the US Government, we could launch a greater effort in South Asia and we could get Calvary Chapel Truckee involved in the work also. It was exactly what Tina and I were praying about. We will continue to be SGWM missionaries, sent out by Calvary Chapel Saving Grace and Saving Grace World Missions, to reach the unreached of the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Well, we’re in the process of packing right now. It’s a big chore. My sister, Sharalynn, has been helping us pack. She is a force to be reckoned with. She has been such a blessing to us. 

We don’t yet have a place to move into, but we trust the Lord that He will provide. My first Sunday in the pulpit at CC Truckee will be Easter Sunday. 

Now for the other news.

Our grandson, Noah, will be 2 March 20th. So we are going to go to Washington for his birthday. We’re so excited to see him. He is so cute and getting so big. He mixes in both German and English when he speaks. I never thought being a grandparent would be so wonderful. 

This April is the 1st graduation for two of the colleges in South Asia since I have taken the oversight of the teaching. During my last trip, pastor Trent asked me to sign all the diplomas as the “Director of the Bible Colleges.” It was such an unexpected privilege. I had no idea at the time that God would open the door for me to return for the graduation ceremony to hand out the diplomas. I will be in South Asia for the graduation on April 4th, and the day I return, we will pick up some rental trucks and move up to Truckee.

So, as you might think, we need your prayers.

  1. Please pray for a house for us in Truckee. Pray that God would give us a house that would be a complete blessing for our family.
  2. Pray that God would bless our move and give us His sure mercies for the move.
  3. Pray that God would equip, enable and anoint us for this next adventure in ministry. For me in leading the church and Tina in leading the women.
  4. This move means the boys will have to find new jobs. Pray that God would bless them with new jobs quickly and help them continue in obtaining their degrees.
  5. Pray for Calvary Chapel Truckee. My prayer is that it would be known as a church that loves Jesus Christ, one another and those on the outside, grounded in the word and has a heart to reach the lost and dying of the world. Pray that we would grow in grace and God would add to the church.

As always, we are so thankful for those that have stood with us in the ministry over the years. Your love, prayers, friendship, and support mean more to us then you could ever imagine. We humbly thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

God bless,

Gary and Tina

PS. Here is a link, if you are interested in the official announcement made on February 17.


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