Thank you all for your prayers. God has blessed us with a really nice house. It was very difficult to find a house to rent when we got here and the options were very limited, yet The Lord blessed us with a home that is over and above what we could have wished for. We live on the out skirts of Victorville in a quiet neighborhood. Since we live in the desert, there is no grass to mow. That’s a blessing in and of itself in my eyes.
We took procession of the keys February 1st. We bought some air mattresses, some paper plates and plastic utensils, a cooler and a couple of pans and waited for our things to arrive from Germany.
After a month in a hotel and three weeks in our new house, all of our things arrived at our door step. The movers quickly unloaded, and our larger pieces of furniture were set them in place. Then we were left to the unpacking.
God has been so good to us. We left empty and returned full. When we left the states and moved to Hungary, we sold almost everything we owned and left with almost nothing because the Bible College supplied a fully furnished apartment for us. 15 years later God has blessed us with so much. As we have been unpacking we have been reminded by each item how God has blessed us, how He faithfully met our needs, and just gave us little things because it blessed Him to bless us.
It goes to show that we will never give up anything to serve The Lord that He won’t give back even more. I’m not talking about material things necessarily either. Our time in Europe, our experiences, the ministries the Lord has allowed us to be part of, the places He allowed us to go and share His love, has been more valuable to us than material things. The changes we witnessed in lives He touched, you couldn’t put a price on that. He has made us so very rich.
Driving Home The Other Day
As I was thinking about this I realized the core of that feeling of being overwhelmed is because I feel like I am out of the fight. We are currently living in “The Land of Plenty.” We are renting a nice house, I have an descent job and we’re living fairly comfortable. Nothing extravagant by any means, but comfortable. All the while people all over the world are dying without ever hearing about Jesus. It eats at me.
I know The Lord has moved us back to the states for His purposes. I know that there is something here He wants to do in our lives. I know, just as one of our supporters and prayer partners reminded me, how we need a sabbatical, a time of rest, to recharge before getting back into the fight. I also know that California, and Victorville in particular, are huge missions fields; people here need Jesus.
Well, as I was driving and thinking about this, The Lord reminded me of what He said Acts 1:8 and comforted my heart. Jesus said, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth.”
The Lord reminded me that Victorville was our new home, our Jerusalem if you will. There are people here He wants to reach, and as we are faithful to reach out to them in His name, He will broaden our spheres of influence again and allow us to be part of what He is doing in ever widening circles. He reminded me that was exactly what He did for us when we moved from California to Corvallis Oregon. How Corvallis became our Jerusalem, and as we served Him He took us to the ends of the earth.
How that word lifted a weight off my heart. How it encouraged me to know that He still desires to use us. We’re not out of the fight, we’re just in a different fight.
How sweet it is to know and understand, we serve a loving God who knows our heart, hears our prayers and desires to comfort His children and to use them for His glory.
Please pray with me:
- That The Lord will open doors for us to reach out to our neighbors in His name. Maybe even start a Bible study in our neighborhood.
- That Jesus would be seen in us and that He would express His life through ours, seen by the people I work with, people we meet in grocery stores and on the streets during our days.
- That The Lord would plant us and establish us in a new church and open doors for us to serve, to be a blessing to the body.
- It’s in my heart to connect with a School of Ministry or Bible College in our area, or the Southern California area, and have a chance to share and teach what we have learned in 20 years of ministry and 15 years on the mission field. To have an opportunity pour into, to stir and disciple, to be an encouragement to a group of young believers eager to see Christ glorified in thier lives and in this world.
- I’d like to see The Lord open doors for me to go to Nepal, India or Jerusalem this year and connect with the Bible Colleges there and be an encouragement to the missionaries there.
These are things that are on my heart. I know they may just be my desires, but I believe The Lord has placed them there. Pray with me please, that The Lord would give me a fresh vision and direction for the way He would have us go. We desire to see Him exalted and glorified in the lives of people who are currently living in darkness.
Thanks for all your prayers, friendship, love and support. If you ever happen to be in the Victorville area, please let us know. We’d love to have you over for a visit.
Gary and Tina
P.S. Tina is currently in Washington visiting Ashley and Elijah for Ashley’s birthday. It seems like yesterday that Ashley was born. It’s just another reminder of how great our God is. She is a beautiful woman, full of grace and love. God has gifted her with tremendous abilities and a great husband. I’m so happy that Tina was able to be with her for her birthday. Happy Birthday Ashley! Thank you Lord for her.
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Since we announced we were returning to the states, it has been nothing but a whirlwind for us. It has been all we could do just to hang on. So many people have emailed us to ask us how we are doing and how they could pray for us, but honestly, we have been so overwhelmed with things that need to be done, we just haven’t had the time to respond. So, I want to let you know, in a word, we’re doing…”fine.”
The week the packers came to pack up our house, I had to go away and do some training in Garmisch. That meant Tina and the boys had to organize and oversee the packers. When everything was gone we moved into a hotel on post, and then 4 days later we left Germany. On one hand it broke our hearts to leave, to say good bye to dear friends, yet on the other hand we were looking forward with a certain degree of excitement to see what God was going to do for us as we started a new chapter in life.
We flew out of Frankfurt with two dogs, one cat and a whole lot of baggage. We were scheduled to fly out at 10:15 AM but our flight was delayed. We ended up taking of at 11:30 Am. The flight was very comfortable. We flew in an Airbus 380-800. It is a gigantic double decker aircraft. It was very nice and it made the 10 hour flight really enjoyable. We landed in San Francisco just a few minutes behind our original scheduled landing time. Since the Army was paying for our flight they wanted to fly us into Las Vegas, the nearest airport to Fort Irwin. Since we were not sure that the animals could get on the connecting flight with us from San Francisco to Las Vegas, we chose to just fly to San Francisco and get a rental car and drive to Southern California
My sister and brother-in-law live in Orange County California. They went to Oregon to have Christmas with my mom and they offered their house to us to stay in while they were gone.
In a word, Christmas for us was….”Wonderful.” Kids make Christmas fun because of their excitement. Gunter had the hardest time waiting for Christmas. We caught him often trying to find the presents with his name on them. Ashley and Elijah were able to drive down from Washington and spend Christmas with us. It was the first time we were all together for Christmas in 3 years. It’s so much fun when Ashley and the boys get together. There is a lot of laughing and fooling around. It’s nothing but fun. We also got a chance to have one of Tina’s brothers over for Christmas eve dinner. It was very nice to see Mark again. Christmas day we went to Calvary Chapel Saving Grace, our sending church. What a blessing it was to hear Pastor Trent lay out a vision for 2017 and encourage the body to live for Jesus like never before.
A really good friend of ours loaned me a car so I could save some money on a rental car. In a word, it has been a…”Blessing.” I started my new job on December 27. I now work at the Weed Community Army Hospital in Fort Irwin. Fort Irwin is the Army’s National Training center. It’s the size of Rhode Island. For the first two weeks I have been in processing, going form office to office to get my badge, security clearance, to give them account numbers to get paid, do some training, meet the commanders of the hospital and just get to know how the new physical therapy clinic runs.
Fort Irwin is in the middle of the Mojave Desert. It has been pretty cold and rainy the last few days. It’s crazy because there are Coyotes and wild Donkeys roaming around. This guy had lunch with me the other day. He sat about 3 meters in front of my car and just waited for a handout. I shared with him some of my Speckulose Christmas cookies we brought from Germany. He gobbled them down and waited for more. Every time I feed a wild animal, a stray dog, or put out bird seed for the birds in our back yard, I think about Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” I love to think that God can to use me to feed His creation, and it reminds me that we are more valuable to Him then we could ever know.
This last weekend, Tina, the boys and I, took some time and went to Calico Ghost Town. When I was a kid our family used to go there and camp, ride motorcycles and just explore the area. It was, well in a word…”Over developed.” (I know that’s two words, but if you say it really fast it sounds like it’s just one.) When I was there as a kid there was nothing there. Now it’s a California State Park and you have to pay to go there. More than half the buildings weren’t there when I was a kid, and the street wasn’t paved. I think it’s a metaphor for Southern California. There are so many people here. It’s just over developed. The traffic on the freeway is incredible. I think I was safer driving on a two lane autobahn traveling 125 MPH than I am on a six lane freeway traveling at 25 MPH here in California.
It’s a different place were living in now. Tina and I were in a grocery store yesterday and were surprised when we turned down an isle and saw a 100 foot long isle of just potato chips. It’s going to take some getting used too.
The biggest challenge we’re facing right now is just finding a place to live. Please pray that the Lord would bless us with a house soon. The Army is paying for our hotel now, but we will be at the end of that allowance soon. We would like to get a place in Apple Valley close to the college so the boys could get there easily since we only have one car.
Thank you for your prayers. We are looking forward to what the Lord has for us, at work, in our new neighborhood and our new church. We’re looking forward to a time of healing, refreshing, renewing and revival. Please pray that the Lord would draw us close and show us His heart for the people we will be meeting here. We would very much be a reflection of Him.
That’s it for now. If you have written, forgive me for not writing back. I’m sure we’ll be getting back to normal soon. Until then, don’t stop emailing. We’re also on Whatsapp and Voxer. It might be a fast way to communicate with us now.
Gary and Tina
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God allowed us to pour into the life of many of the Bible college students while we were serving at Calvary Chapel Bible College Europe. We’re still in contact with many of them.
When God moved us to Estergom, He opened up amazing doors to teach the Bible in churches, Bible studies and on outreaches in Hungary, Slovakia, England, Wales and Scotland. It was amazing what God did.
Then about 2004 the Lord began to move on our hearts that our time in Hungary was coming to an end. Through a set of miraculous events, The Lord opened a door for us to move to Germany. He relocated us in Middle Franconia, which is in western Bavaria. He gave us a vision of reaching out to young soldiers, Germans and other nationals in the area.
The Lord had us start a small Bible study which grew into a small fellowship. We introduced many people to solid verse by verse Bible study and a God who was deeply in love with them.
We did a 5 year study focusing on Jesus’ Life and Ministry in Chronological Order. That study took us through each Gospel. After that we continued on through the Book of Acts and then into Romans.
During this time we also taught a mid week study through the 5 Books of Moses (we only got through 4 of them though.) The Lord took us deep in His word and united our hearts together in sweet fellowship.
Now after 10 years in Germany, 14 years in Europe, The Lord is moving us again. He has called us back to the states. For us it is bitter sweet. Europe is our home. The kids basically grew up here in Europe. Austin hardly even remembers living in the states. But we know that God’s past faithfulness…demands our present trust.
The Lord put it on Tina and my hearts that we would eventually return to the states so the boys could attend college and we were to help get them take the next steps in their lives.
We always knew that the time would be right when God provided a way back that didn’t cost us any money, since we didn’t have any. Well, the Army has decided to move us to California, to work at Fort Irwin. They are paying for the move. And it is happening fast. We will be back in the states for Christmas and I will be starting a new job December 27.
I have wanted to share this news earlier, but we found ourselves just trying to hang on, things have been moving so fast. Our household goods will be packed up next week and sent. We are waiting for the final amendments to our orders and we’ll be off very soon.
I trust that the Lord isn’t done with us yet and that there will more opportunities to continue to serve Him future. It will just be in the states instead of here in Europe. We will be exchanging one dark continent for another.
I hope that you will continue to pray for us and stand with us in sharing the love of Christ with a dark and dying world. It is our hope that The Lord will take us ever deeper in a love relationship with Him and that He will use us to point others to Him.
Thank you for your prayers. If you have any questions, please email us and we’d be happy to respond quickly.
For those of our friends in Europe, we’ll miss you greatly. For our friends in the states, we’re looking forward to seeing you.
Gary and Tina
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