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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It’s been just over a year since the Lord has brought us back to the states. This last year our family has been going through a time of breaking, of really pressing in and seeking the Lord for His heart, and a time of drawing close to Him like never before. It has intensified somewhat in the last three to five months. As you know, when the Lord takes you through these times with Him, it can be overwhelming. There’s been a lot of tears, a lot of tears, but also times of rejoicing and praise, with much needed comfort mixed in.
The Lord has answered our prayers to be part of a living, healthy, loving church. We have been driving the hour drive, one way, every week to attend Calvary Chapel Saving Grace, our sending church. After 15 years on the mission field, the fellowship and teaching is so needed to refresh our hearts and souls.
Pastor Trent, who pastors Calvary Chapel Saving Grace, has asked us to take a bigger role in Saving Grace World MIssions. He has asked us to take part in a two fold ministry, and we’re really excited about it.
You may already know, I have been teaching, via Skype, through the Book of John at a Saving Grace World Missions Pastor’s College in south Asia. I could never actually go to this area of the world, but through contacts on the ground and current technologies, I and five other pastors are discipling a group of guys. We are raising them up and in a short time sending them out to start churches to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to an unreached people group. Through this ministry, 20 churches have already been planted. After sending these guys out we continue to have contact with them to help them through the ins and outs of ministry. In other words, we continue in life long discipleship and partnership in the work of the ministry.
The Lord is opening doors for us to also start a Pastor’s College in the Middle East. This would require me to travel there for months at a time to get it established and to teach there. It is also a potentially dangerous area and things have to be done discreetly, but the result of this work will also be discipling and raising up pastors who will take the message of the cross to a people who have never heard of the love, forgiveness of sins and eternal life offered by our Savior. We could never go to these people and share that message with them, so we’ll raise up those who can.
Pastor Trent has asked us to come alongside Pastor Mike, the SGWM director, and help him with discipling a new generation of missionaries here in the states and send them out. He wants Tina and I to be part of pouring into and discipling these young men and women who have a heart to serve God on foreign mission fields and pass on to them what we have learned in 15 years of living abroad as missionaries.
Like many churches today, Calvary Chapel Saving Grace and Saving Grace World Missions can not afford to give us a salary, we have to raise support. It seems like we are at a critical time. I would like to be completely transparent with you. There are job opportunities for us that will provide for our needs financially, but effectively close the doors on this ministry opportunity, and maybe ministry in general.
I’m sharing this with you, to ask you to prayerfully consider joining us in the ministry through your prayers and financial support.
Like the prophet Isiah recorded in Is 6:8, “I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then said I, “Here am I, send me.” That’s my heart, I want to go! Lord send me! I want to see God raise up men and women to take the Gospel places we could never go. It’s something we can do together to fulfill the Great Commission.
Through out the Bible there are stories of those who go to the front lines and fight and those who are behind them in support, Exodus 17:8-13, for example. We see Joshua fighting while Moses, Aaron and Hur are praying and supporting in the rear.
Also Romans 10:13-15, “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” How shall the call on Him whom they have not believed? And how shall the believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel, who bring glad tidings of good things!”
The Bible paints the picture of those who go and those who serve as senders, and they both share in the fruit. 1 Samuel 30:24, “…But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike.”
If the Lord leads you and puts it on your heart to team up with us in raising up pastors who will go places and share the love of Christ with people who are unreached, literally unreached, you can go to our web page, www.sgwm.com/barrow and click the button that says “Become a Financial Partner.”
We understand that you may not be in a position to contribute to the ministry financially at this time, but would you stand with us and commit to praying and asking the Lord to lead, guide and provide? That He would make a way for us. He is the Way Maker!
If you have any questions about what our plans are, feel free to drop us a note.
As always, we are so thankful for you, for your friendship, prayers, love. We pray God blesses you and meets you in a special way, and that He would reveal the depth of His love for you.
Thanks again for standing with us.
Gary and Tina
PS, Below are a few pictures of one of the Pastor’s Colleges that is being established in south Asia and some of the new construction that is under way. This is a restricted area, completely off limits for any of us to travel to, and yet God’d word is not chained by restrictions of evil men. Praise the LORD!
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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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